Jacques Chevalier and Daniel Buckles have recently completed  a support to a community of evaluation practice called “Bridging Gaps”, sponsored by the International Development Research Centre (IDRC). It involved the usual suspects among Canadian INGOs (Cuso International, Canada World Youth, CECI, CESO-SACO, Crossroads International, Oxfam Canada, Oxfam Québec, SUCO, USC-Canada and WUSC).

One of the “gaps” the community wanted to address is how to work on the so-called “attribution problem” without using the randomized control trial typical of Duflo’s experimental approach to impact evaluation (due to the ethical and practical problems of control trials). Chevalier and Buckles developed an alternative approach to counterfactual thinking that draws on the Anglo-Saxon legal tradition instead. While still a work in progress, they think it is promising. The report also shows how participatory approaches to evaluation can be integrated into Results Based Measurement, and reflects on various “hybrid” models that bridge gaps in conventional methods.

A research report with stories of innovation in evaluation methods by the various organizations is now available on the Participatory Action Research, Planning and Evaluation Website.