Monitoring and evaluation for thinking and working politically - Aston, Roche, Schaaf and Cant (2021)


This article explores the challenges of monitoring and evaluating politically informed and adaptive programmes in the international development field. It assesses the strengths and weaknesses of some specific evaluation methodologies which have been suggested as particularly appropriate for these kinds of programmes based on scholarly literature and the practical experience of the authors in using them. The paper argues that methods which assume generative causality are particularly well suited to the task. These include Qualitative Comparative Analysis, Realist Evaluation, Process Tracing, and Outcome Harvesting. The paper concludes by arguing that it is important to factor in the politics of uncertainty and evidence generation and use to recognize and value diverse experiential knowledge, integrate understandings of the local context, accommodate adaptation, and realistically grapple with the power relations which are inherent in evaluation processes