German Institute for Development Evaluation

Research on methods

Rigorous Impact Evaluation

Rigorous impact evaluation (short form: RIE) is an important tool in increasing development effectiveness. However, this tool has only been used sporadically in German development cooperation so far. With this research project we will map the current state of rigorous impact evaluation in Germany and identify existing barriers, aiming to increase the implementation and systematic use of rigorous impact evaluation in German development cooperation.


Infographic explaning the aims and methods of the RIE Project

Research Questions:

1. What is the current state of rigorous impact evaluation in Germany?

How many rigorous impact evaluations have been conducted in the last decade within German development cooperation? In which thematic area have these evaluations primarily been conducted? Which rigorous methods have mostly been used? To what extent has rigorous evidence been used in implementation, programming and in political decision-making?

2. What are barriers for implementation and systematic use of rigorous impact evaluation?

What motivates or discourages stakeholders to implement rigorous impact evaluations and to make systematic use of existing rigorous evidence? How is the newly generated evidence used in further implementation and political decision-making? In which way is the existing and newly generated evidence brokered to stakeholders? Is German development cooperation in this respect different from other countries?

3. What can German development cooperation learn from other countries with respect to creating an enabling environment for rigorous impact evaluation?

What are enabling factors and lessons from other countries and to what extent can they be adapted to the German case?


Quantitative assessment within governmental institutions and NGOs to map the current state of rigorous impact evaluation;

Interviews with German experts and stakeholders to identify existing barriers and facilitating factors;

Interviews and workshops with international experts to learn from their experiences with the implementation and systematic use of rigorous impact evaluation.

Stakeholder Support and Community Building:

In addition to providing information on barriers and facilitating factors for rigorous impact evaluation, we also aim to provide practical support to stakeholders. This takes the form of advice on ongoing rigorous impact evaluation projects, as well as the establishment of a community of experts and stakeholders. With this, we want to further an ongoing dialogue on developments in the field of rigorous impact evaluation. As one of our first steps we will host a joint conference with the Campbell Collaboration on the role of evidence synthesis for a more effective development cooperation on 9 and 10 May 2019 in Bonn.