Department of Social & Policy Sciences

Centre for Development Studies increasing the impact of impact assessment

Mon May 18 11:14:00 BST 2015

Researchers in our  Centre for Development Studies have been awarded a sought after place on a pilot  Innovation to Commercialisation programme (ICURe) run by the SETsquared Partnership.

The ICURe programme is funded by InnovateUK and HEFCE and offers up to £50,000 and a team of experienced business mentors to help university researchers ‘get out of the lab and validate their ideas in the marketplace.'

Fiona Remnant and  James Copestake, from the  Department of Social & Policy Sciences, are using the work developed through their current ESRC -funded research project to develop a business plan for a social enterprise company initially specialising in qualitative impact assessment.

Assessing Rural Transformations

The  Assessing Rural Transformations project (ART) has produced a rigorous but simple qualitative tool, the  QUIP, to help identify and measure the key drivers of change in people’s lives in the context of complex interactions between planned and unplanned interventions. The ICURe programme offers the opportunity to establish how best to scale up this approach so that it becomes a mainstream tool for evaluators, particularly in the field of international development where there is a need for more detailed impact assessment data.

Research and Commnucations Officer for the Assessing Rural Transformations project, Fiona Remnant, commented: "This is a fantastic opportunity to maximise the practical impact of CDS’ research, creating a valuable link between researchers and practitioners and ensuring that we reach a much wider audience."

Applying this work in the field

International aid agencies require cost-effective and credible tools for demonstrating the impact of their activities on intended beneficiaries. The most widely accepted approach is to rely on large scale quantitative surveys and qualitative social research, but these tend to be expensive and time consuming.

The analysis of qualitative data is an area which up until now has remained largely out of reach of small NGOs and social enterprises, as they also tend require specialised expertise and to be time consuming and expensive.

To address this issue, CDS researchers have developed and tested a qualitative impact assessment protocol, the  Qualitative Impact Protocol (QUIP), that aims to be credible, flexible and cost-effective.

The QUIP combines tested data collection methodology - designed particularly to address confirmation bias in the field - with a bespoke analysis process within Excel to enable easy and efficient analysis and presentation of impact findings.

Find out more

More on the Centre for Development Studies »