Not missing the woods for the trees: mapping evidence gaps on land use and forestry programmes

Forest protection is among the most effective approaches we have to mitigate climate change. At the same time, agricultural land and forests provide food, livelihoods and fuel for billions of people globally, particularly in low and middle-income countries (L&MICs). At the same time there are concerns that large-scale forest protection programming will have negative knock-on effects on food security and other aspects of human well-being.

If you want your study included in a systematic review, this is what you should report

Impact evaluation evidence continues to accumulate, and policymakers need to understand the range of evidence, not just individual studies. Across all sectors of international development, systematic reviews and meta-analysis (the statistical analysis used in many systematic reviews) are increasingly used to synthesise the evidence on the effects of programmes.

Is impact evaluation still on the rise?

Since 2014, 3ie’s impact evaluation repository (IER) has been a comprehensive database of published impact evaluations of development programmes in low- and middle-income countries. We call the database comprehensive because we build it from a systematic search and screening process that covers over 35 indexes and websites and screens for all development programme evaluations or experiments that use a counterfactual method for estimating net impact.

Implementing impact evaluations: trade-offs and compromises

In June this year, 3ie and the International Fund for Agricultural Development organised a workshop where we had several productive discussions around two key questions: Are impact evaluations answering policy-relevant questions and generating useful evidence? What are the challenges faced in designing and implementing impact evaluations of cash transfers and agricultural innovation programmes?

Let’s bring back theory to theory of change

Anyone who has ever applied for a grant from 3ie knows that we care about theory of change. Many others in development care about theory of change as well. Craig Valters of the Overseas Development Institute explains that development professionals are using the term theory of change in three ways: for discourse, as a tool, and as an approach.

Impact Evaluation: How the Wonkiest Subject in the World Got Traction

Creating 3ie was the outcome of the Evaluation Gap Working Groupthat we led along with Nancy Birdsall to address the limited number of rigorous impact evaluation of public policies in developing countries. As CGD celebrates its 15th year, it is worth considering what made that working group so successful, the obstacles we confronted, and the work that still remains to be done.

Collaborating with communities to improve vaccine coverage: a strategy worth pursuing?

It is unfortunate but distrust of vaccines remains widespread in the world today. In August 2003, a polio vaccination boycott was declared in the five northern states of Nigeria. Political and religious leaders argued that the vaccines could be contaminated with anti-fertility agents, HIV and cancer-causing agents. It took a full year to resolve the boycott but the one year period wreaked havoc on the status of polio across the world.

Trends in impact evaluation: Did we ever learn?

In 2006, the Evaluation Gap Working Group asked, “When will we ever learn?” This week, 3ie’s Drew Cameron, Anjini Mishra, and Annette Brown (hereafter CMB) have published a paper in the Journal of Development Effectiveness that uses data on more than thirty years of published impact evaluations from 3ie’s Impact Evaluation Repository (IER) to answer the question.

Evidence gap maps: an innovative tool for seeing what we know and don’t know

Whether you are a research funder, decision maker or researcher, keeping up with the ever expanding evidence base is not easy. Over 2600 impact evaluations and 300 systematic reviews assessing the effects of international development interventions have been completed or are ongoing to help answer that question and understand how, why and at what cost.  Despite this increase in quality evidence, more evidence is needed, which is why funders and researchers continue to fund and produce new research.

Unexpected evidence on impact evaluations of anti-poverty programmes

The first email that caught my eye this morning as I opened my inbox was Markus Goldstein’s most recent World Bank blog post, “Do impact evaluations tell us anything about reducing poverty?” Having worked in this field for four years, I too have been thinking that we were in the business of fighting poverty, and like him, I expected that impact evaluations, especially impact evaluations of anti-poverty programmes, would tell us whether we are reaching the poor and helping