3ie Howard White Lecture Series

Inaugural lecture: Fieldwork is easy with eyes closed, misunderstanding all you see. The importance of going deep on context.

Speaker: Howard White, executive director, 3ie
Date: 14 October, 5.30-7.00
Venue: John Snow Lecture Theatre, London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine, Keppel Street
Co-Chairs: Richard Manning, Chair, 3ie Board of Commissioners and Annette Brown, Deputy Director 3ie, Head of US office

A neglected part of the evidence revolution is the sheer volume of data being collected through large scale surveys. Twenty years ago, it was the exception for economists to go to the field. Today it is the norm. But does this exposure to the subjects of their analysis give additional insights? Unfortunately, it will not if researchers neglect context.

Howard White argues that 'going deep on context' (historical, political and cultural) is necessary for a proper understanding of impact, and indeed should also inform intervention design. Examples are given from across Africa and Asia of how impact is mediated by social context.

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About the annual 3ie Howard White lecture series

The 3ie Howard White lecture series is being established in honour of Dr Howard White, the first executive director of the International Initiative for Impact Evaluation (3ie). Howard has successfully grown 3ie from its establishment in 2008 to an internationally renowned global grant-making nongovernmental organization. Each year, the 3ie Howard White lecture selection committee will invite a distinguished international development professional to deliver a lecture on a topic related to 3ie’s mission.

This first lecture in the 3ie Howard White Lecture Series is being co-hosted with the London International Development Centre as part of the 3ie-LIDC Seminar Series.

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