Bonn: German Development Institute / Deutsches Institut für Entwicklungspolitik (DIE)
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Erkenntnisse aus der wirkungsorientierten Begleitforschung: Potential und Grenzen der rigorosen Wirkungsanalyse von Governance-Programmen
(Discussion Paper 13/2019)
How to assess impact in governance programmes successfully? This publication documents some practical lessons learnt on how to conduct rigorous impact assessments, with a special focus on governance interventions. The project “Wirkungsinitiative Afrika” of the German Development Institute / Deutsches Institut für Entwicklungspolitik (DIE) follows the approach of impact-oriented accompanying research when measuring impact. Impact-oriented accompanying research in the project combines two elements of impact assessments: a) the measurement of impact using (quasi-)experimental designs, and b) the investigation of causal mechanisms using theory-driven approaches. The combination allows for making statements about how much impact was achieved (quasi-experimental and experimental approaches) and why and how this impact came about in the given context (theory-based approaches). Such a mixed-method approach to impact assessment can provide a comprehensive understanding of the impact of an intervention. In addition, impact-oriented accompanying research takes place over a long time frame of at least 18 months, and thus represents a particularly deep form of cooperation between research and practice. This allows for continuous exchange and advice by researchers on programme implementation and, thereby, leads to advice that the programme can use while the project is ongoing. We speak of a successful case of impact-oriented accompanying research when it realises its full potential in terms of operational and strategic learning, (impact) evaluation capacity development and a contribution to effective internal and external accountability.
The goal of the publication is to lay out what is needed for a successful impact assessment in governance interventions and to identify key aspects for each step of the process of impact-oriented accompanying research. It thereby seeks to provide in-depth guidance for anyone contemplating the idea of engaging in impact-oriented accompanying research.