German Institute for Development Evaluation

Methods & Standards

Development cooperation takes place in complex contexts, which pose special methodological challenges for evaluators. Therefore we at DEval are working on the further development of relevant methods and standards and advise the German Federal Ministry of Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) as well as national and international partners in this regard.

DEval Evaluation Standards

Utility: Relevant topics, participation and actionable recommendations provide utility.

Evaluability: DEval evaluations are planned realistically and implemented cost-effectively.

Fairness, independence and integrity: DEval works independently, transparently and according to ethical principles.

Accuracy, scientific rigour and comprehensibility: DEval evaluations follow the principles of good scientific practice.

Comparability: DEval evaluations apply uniform criteria and evaluation standards.

The DEval standards are ambitious minimum standards that should apply to all DEval evaluations. They are periodically tested and refined. The DEval standards are embedded in existing international guidelines and standards. The OECD-DAC criteria of relevance, effectiveness, efficiency, impact and sustainability are applied as far as possible as key review criteria. Each of our evaluations is supported by a reference group.

Standards for DEval Evaluations (PDF)


Method Research at DEval

Method integration in complex evaluations

This project aims at advancing the systematic integration of different methods in evaluations to generate more valid and reliable evidence. Building on debates in mixed- and multi-method research, DEval aims at bringing together evaluators and academics to exchange ideas and experience on innovative ways of combining methods and to develop systematic approaches of method integration in evaluation.

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Causal mechanisms in complex evaluations

With the analysis of causal mechanisms, we examine not only whether a programme works, but how and why/why not, in order to make programmes more effective.

With this project we want to bundle experience with causal mechanisms in complex evaluations and advance the methodological debate.

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Rigorous impact evaluation

Unequivocally demonstrating the effects of development cooperation is a major challenge. Rigorous impact evaluations meet this challenge, but have only been used sporadically so far in German development cooperation.

This research project aims to identify and record the current state of rigorous impact evaluation in Germany, as well as existing barriers.

The goal of the project is to increase the implementation of rigorous impact evaluations and the systematic use of rigorous evidence in German development cooperation.

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Taking stock of Rigorous Impact Evaluations (RIE)

As part of its Rigorous Impact Evaluation project, DEval aims to identify and record the current state of rigorous impact evaluation (RIE) in German development cooperation. We would, therefore, like to ask persons responsible for rigorous impact evaluations in German development cooperation to fill in information on completed, ongoing or officially confirmed rigorous impact evaluations through our survey. Information will be treated anonymously and serves the purpose of taking stock of all rigorous impact evaluation conducted within the German development cooperation.

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Country Portfolio Reviews

With country portfolio reviews (CPRs) DEval has developed a tool to analyse the entire portfolio of bilateral German development cooperation in a partner country. In the CPR project, country portfolio reviews will be conducted for selected country portfolios. At the same time the tool will be further improved in order to strengthen the strategic management of bilateral development cooperation by Germany's Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ).

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Innovative use of remote sensing data

The use of remote sensing data in evaluations is an effective method for measuring the effects of climate change adaptation programmes and changes in the living environment of people. This includes, for example, the measurement of the scales of natural disasters or the expansion of infrastructure.

We are developing this method further in a targeted manner in cooperation with the Faculty of Geoinformation Science and Earth Observation of the University of Twente.

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