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Evaluation
  EUROPA > European Commission > EuropeAid > Evaluation > Methodology > Basics > How?
Last updated: 21/01/2006
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Inferring a question from the intervention logic

 


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What is this about?

The intervention logic specifies the expected effects. Most evaluation questions concern one (or several) effects, which have to be specified.



What is the purpose?

To focus the question on the effects that are considered to be the most important or the least known.

To find the right balance between:

  • the evaluation of long-term or global effects which are of particular interest to policy-makers but are difficult to evaluate, and
  • short-term or direct effects that are easier to evaluate but are of interest mainly to managers.

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Effect, need or problem

Where possible and relevant, the question specifies the effect concerned. This is easy for effectiveness questions such as:

  • Has effect X been obtained? Is it likely to be obtained?

It is also preferable to specify the effect concerned in more complex cases, for example:

  • Will the effect be sustainable? Will it be achieved at a reasonable cost compared to ? (effect)
  • Was the objective of achieving effect X consistent with the needs of the population? (effect / need)
  • Was the objective of achieving effect X justified by the resolution of the main development problems in the sector? (effect / problem)

As shown above, many questions can be related to the intervention logic either directly (effectiveness) or indirectly (sustainability, efficiency, relevance). The only real exception is the question on unexpected effects.

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More or less extensive effects

The question specifies whether it concerns:

  • a precise effect, for example: Have the former trainees acquired the required skills?
  • a set of logically related effects, for example: What have the effects been in terms of strengthening the institutions?
  • all the effects, for example: Has the sector-specific budget support made it possible to obtain effects that are at least as good as previously, with lower transaction costs?

Questions on sets of effects are of interest to policy-makers and strategic decision-makers but are generally more difficult to answer.

Operators and field level managers are more interested in questions on precise effects. These questions are also easier to answer.

If the question concerns all effects, it is focused on a specific aspect of intervention design or implementation. A question that covered the entire intervention and all its effects would probably not be evaluable.

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Close or distant effects

The wording of the question indicates whether one is interested in:

  • A direct and immediate effect, for example: Have the former trainees acquired the required skills?
  • A more indirect or distant link in the chain of effects, for example: Have the former trainees spread their know-how throughout their community?
  • A very indirect or distant effect, for example: How has the training contributed towards local economic development?

Questions on the most distant impacts are of interest to policy-makers and strategic decision-makers but are generally more difficult to answer.

Operators and field level managers are more interested in questions on direct results, on the uptake by the targeted group, on their needs, or on the closest impacts. These questions are also easier to answer.

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