RE: How to evaluate science, technology and innovation in a R4D context? New guidelines offer some solutions | Eval Forward

Thanks, Seda for your important question. As the Guidelines state several times, they were informed by the International Development Research Centre (IDRC) RQ+ Assessment Instrument ( Hence some useful ideas and suggestions from a development organization are an integral part of the Guidelines.

Perhaps the easiest way to answer your question is to use Table 7 on Pg. 19 Qualitative data themes, indicators per Quality of Science dimension with assessment criteria. This Table was developed for evaluating CGIAR research for development projects. As far as I can see, most of the themes and indicators of quality in a science-based research for development project are just as relevant to evaluating quality in a development project. Under design, as an evaluator I would want to know whether the design was coherent and clear and the methodologies fit the planned interventions. Under inputs, I would be looking at the skill base and diversity of the project team, whether or not the funding available was sufficient to complete the project satisfactorily and whether the capacity building was appropriate for planned activities and would be sufficient to provide sustainability for impact after the project finished. Under processes, my main questions would be the recognition and inclusiveness of partnerships, whether the roles and responsibilities were well-defined and whether there were any risks or negative consequences that I should be aware of. Finally under outputs, I would be interested in whether the communication methods and tools were adequate, whether planned networking included engagement of appropriate and needed stakeholders, whether the project was sufficiently aware if the enabling environment was conducive to the success of the project , where relevant – were links being made with policy makers, and whether scaling readiness was part of stakeholder engagement.

Section 4 of the Guidelines on the Key Steps in Evaluating Quality of Science in research for development proposes methods which are also relevant to development projects. These include review of documents, interviews, focus group discussions, social networking analysis, the Theory of Change and the use of rubrics to reduce subjectivity when using qualitative indictors. The use of rubrics is a cornerstone of the IDRC RQ+ Assessment Instrument.