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

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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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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