Guidance + Tools

Impact evaluations for market systems programmes

Fionn O'Sullivan
Organisation
BEAM Exchange

Document description

These guidelines set out the key steps and considerations for designing, planning and undertaking the evaluation of a programme or intervention that applies a market systems approach.

Evaluation is understood here as a systematic assessment of impacts which includes positive and negative, primary and secondary long-term effects produced by a development intervention, directly or indirectly, intended or unintended. A key motivation for commissioning this document is that many previous evaluations of market systems programmes failed to take all of these effects into account. In particular, it aims to provide practical guidance to tackle weaknesses identified in previous research, including:

  • The use of simple, linear theories of change which do not adequately reflect the system changing ambitions of the approach
  • Limited attention paid to possible unintended and negative effects, particularly for poor men and women who may not be the direct beneficiaries of market changes
  • Poor data quality (such as small sample sizes and little consideration of sampling frames, statistical significance or bias)
  • Weak triangulation practices, in relation to qualitative data in particular.

The guidelines are intended both for evaluators, and for those involved in drawing up the terms of reference and commissioning an evaluation (programme managers and donors).

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