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Are we suffering from obsessive measurement disorder?

August 15, 2019
ODI’s Tiina Pasanen argues that more data doesn’t necessarily mean we make better decisions. It often means just having more data that is not used Do any of these situations sound familiar to you? as an M&E manager, you worry that there’s a crucial aspect of your project that the current logframe doesn’t cover as a programme manager, most of
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What does the evidence tell us about ‘thinking and working politically’ in development assistance?

July 2, 2019
We’re having an ‘Adaptive Management week’ on FP2P, because so much good material has been coming through recently. First up is a new paper by Niheer Dasandi, Edward Laws, Heather Marquette, and Mark Robinson that I read on the way to the TWP conference in Washington that I wrote about recently. It really got me thinking. The paper is pretty damning:

Naila Kabeer on Why Randomized Controlled Trials need to include Human Agency

June 7, 2019
Guest post and 20m interview with Naila Kabeer on her new paper There’s a buzz abroad in the development community around a new way to tackle extreme poverty. BRAC’s Targeting the Ultra Poor (TUP) programme combines asset transfers (usually livestock), cash stipends and intensive mentoring to women and families in extreme poverty in order to help them ‘graduate’ into more

What’s New in our Understanding of how Evidence Influences Policy? A view from Latin America

June 1, 2018
Following on Tuesday’s post on using evidence to influence policy in Guatemala, here’s Enrique Mendizabal, founder of On Think Tanks and the Latin American Evidence Week (October 22-29th) It seems rather hard to come up with anything original to say in the field of evidence-informed policy – unless we consider the change from evidence-based to evidence-informed policy. The case study approach,

If you want to persuade decision makers to use evidence, does capacity building help?

May 4, 2018
This guest post comes from Isabel Vogel (independent consultant, left) and Mel Punton (Itad) Billions of pounds of development assistance is being channelled into research and science, with the assumption that this will help tackle global problems. But in many countries, decision makers don’t turn to evidence as their first port of call when developing policies that affect people’s lives.

Should the Gates Foundation Do Data Differently?

November 8, 2017
Spent a fascinating day last week talking to staff at the Gates Foundation at its HQ in a cold, grey and sleety Seattle (felt quite at home). I presented the book in one of those ‘brownbag lunches’ that Americans love (although these days ‘clear plastic box lunches’ would be more accurate), and we then got on to discussing the implications

How is evidence actually used in policy-making? A new framework from a global DFID programme

November 1, 2017
Guest post from David Rinnert (@DRinnert) and Liz Brower (@liz_brower1), both of DFID Over the last decade there has been significant investment in high-quality, policy-relevant research and evidence focussed on poverty reduction. For example, the American Economic Association’s registry for randomised controlled trials currently lists 1,294 studies in 106 countries, many of which have yielded insights directly relevant to the

How can NGOs get better at using evidence to influence governments and companies?

October 26, 2017
This week I attended an ‘Evidence for Influencing’ conference in the Netherlands. A couple of Oxfam colleagues had started planning it as a small event, and then found such interest in the topic that it mushroomed to 150 people over 2 days, roughly divided between Oxfammers and others (NGOs, media, academia). My overall impression was that campaigners, academics and governments

DFID is 20 years old: has its results agenda gone too far?

September 12, 2017
DFID just turned 20 and Craig Valters and Brendan Whitty have a new paper charting its changing relationship to results  Focusing on results in international development is crucial. At this level of abstraction, how could one argue otherwise? Yet it matters how development agencies are managed for these results. We know that with proper management systems, aid interventions can be very

Are Academics really that bad at achieving/measuring Impact? Summary of last week’s punch-up

July 11, 2017
Last week’s post about academics struggling to design their research for impact certainly got a reaction. Maybe not a twitter storm, but at least a bit of a squall. So it’s time to summarize the debate and reflect a bit. The post annoyed some people in the ‘research for impact’ community, because it was basically saying nothing much has changed.

Doing Data Differently: Lessons from the Results Data Initiative

December 2, 2016
Guest post from Dustin Homer, Director of Engagement and Partnerships at Development Gateway Development folks see magical possibilities for data-driven decision-making. We want data and evidence to improve our work—to help us reach marginalized people, allocate budgets effectively, and see which activities work the best. And it’s not all buzz; we’re getting serious about investing real resources into this development

Is it time to move on from Stats and Numbers to Metaphor and Narrative?

November 23, 2016
Post Brexit and US elections, I’ve been doing some thinking about how we talk to people. It seems to me that, along with much of the aid and development sector, and quite a few other social change movements, we have been in thrall to the power of numbers and evidence. Everyone is a policy wonk these days. The trouble is,