As a follow-up on our workshop on Theories of Change, today we had a workshop on Impact Evaluation.
Most of us did have an idea of what this entails, ranging from “the work MEL (Monitoring Evaluation Learning) staff do” to “surveys and interviews” and “baseline studies and control groups”. Ruben De Winne from the Impact Evaluation team kindly prepared this workshop and asked us to prepare some questions in advance. Two weeks ago we made our own theories of change on where we’d want to be in five years. Ruben asked us to subtract one concept (such as education, experience, and network) and phrase research questions and either interview or survey questions to answer this.
In the workshop, we worked on the concept of education, and how this could help you get where you’d like to be. We first interviewed each other and took a survey. Afterward, we discussed issues you can come across while doing research and measuring impact. We learned that it is very important to phrase questions in such a way that it is easily understandable for your audience, which in itself does not seem incredibly enlightened, but in practice is harder than you might think.
Furthermore, the possibility of biases because of your choice of interviewer and exhaustiveness of the research are important issues to take into account. It is therefore very helpful to combine quantitative and qualitative research in order to be able to statistically underpin findings, but also learn about underlying assumptions and reasons for outcomes.
As Ruben told us, the impact evaluation process usually takes about 5 years, as a baseline study is needed before implementation of the program and these programs themselves take some time too. He now tried to squeeze the process into an hour and a half, which inevitably meant that we could not elaborate on important issues too much.
For our own 5-year theories of change, we cannot really measure the impact of our internships afterward. I do think, however, that workshops and activities like these contribute to our personal development and help us get where we want to be.
This post was written by Marion Ebbes, Intern Inequalities in Value Chains