Are experimental methods the gold standard of evaluation? Are other methods valid and useful to answer questions about impact. If you are interested in impact evaluation, but too afraid (of math and statistical formulae) to ask, this is the workshop for you.
Does your program work? How can you be sure? This workshop is a user-friendly introduction to rigorous quantitative impact evaluation methods (experimental & quasi-experimental), their scope and limitations. It provides a guided tour of complex methodologies for those who do not have -nor want to acquire- advanced training in statistics, but need to grasp fundamentals of impact evaluation methodology: emerging evaluators, commissioners, policy-makers and development activists.
Experimental impact evaluation (using randomized controlled trials, akaRCTs) is often depicted as the gold standard of evaluation because it specifically addresses questions of causal inference. The main strength of this methodological strategy is to prevent the fallacy of attribution for being able to isolate the independent causal effect of a given program on the treated population (beneficiaries).
Through experimental control, this strategy creates a counterfactual that provides robust and valid evidence of average treatment effects (ATE)? What does that mean and why should we care?
This workshop will help you grasp these concepts, learn how they are operationalized in specific statistical methodological strategies and understand their pros and cons.
Our common goal in this week-long journey is to:
- Identify the need and the usefulness of rigorous quantitative impact evaluation and master the difference between impact evaluation and other types of evaluation.
- Understand the difference between experimental and quasi-experimental methods, and why they matter.
- Identify main requirements to perform and/or commission an impact evaluation.
- Understand and assess the quality and usefulness of quantitative impact evaluation reports.
- Realize why people using these methods to learn “what works” in the development field do win Nobel Prizes, yet still critically assess their usefulness.
- Understand the must-know technical terminology required to pursue more advanced training in impact evaluation.