Tools for Effective Monitoring, Evaluation, and Learning

Some of the tools and approaches are complementary or substitutes; some are broad in scope, others narrower. The nine M&E methods are:

Performance indicators. These measure inputs, processes, outputs, outcomes and impacts of development interventions. They are used for setting targets and measuring progress towards them.

The logical framework (LogFrame) approach. This identifies objectives and expected causal links and risks along the results chain. It is a vehicle for engaging partners and can help improve programme design.

Theory-based evaluation. Similar to the LogFrame approach, this provides a deeper understanding of the workings of a complex intervention. It helps planning and management by identifying critical success factors.

Formal surveys. These are used to collect standardised information from a sample of people or households. They are useful for understanding actual conditions and changes over time.

Rapid appraisal methods. These are quick, cheap ways of providing decision-makers with views and feedback from beneficiaries and stakeholders. They include interviewing, focus groups and field observation.

Participatory methods. These allow stakeholders to be actively involved in decision-making. They generate a sense of ownership of M&E results and recommendations, and build local capacity.

Public expenditure tracking surveys. These trace the flow of public funds and assess whether resources reach the intended recipients. They can help diagnose service-delivery problems and improve accountability.
Cost-benefit and cost-effectiveness analysis. These tools assess whether the cost of an activity is justified by its impact. Cost-benefit measures inputs and outputs in monetary terms, whereas cost-effectiveness looks at outputs in non-monetary terms.

Impact evaluation. This is the systematic identification of the effects of an intervention on households, institutions and the environment, using some of the above methods. It can be used to gauge the effectiveness of activities in reaching the poor.

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