The evaluation lasted from mid-2014 to September 2016 and comprised three phases: In the inception phase the evaluators first of all analysed selected documents and conducted approximately 20 interviews with experts in Germany, chiefly at the BMZ and GIZ. In a next step they used the findings to generate initial hypotheses and questions, on the basis of which they then designed semi-structured interviews.
A further component of the inception phase involved exploratory case studies in three of Germany's partner countries for development cooperation. Here the evaluators conducted some 60 semi-structured interviews with heads of cooperation at German embassies, GIZ programme coordinators and field staff, development workers, integrated experts, national experts, partner representatives and other donors in order to further structure the evaluation, its questions and its methods.
Based on the first findings obtained in the field the evaluators then further refined the reconstructed Theory of Change (ToC) and its hypotheses, and derived the evaluation questions for the data collection phase. For each evaluation question they also identified more specific detailed questions, assessment criteria and indicators/descriptors. The evaluators entered these in an evaluation matrix in order to define the evaluation design and the data collection plan. Following that they developed the corresponding data collection instruments.
For the data collection phase the evaluators employed an emergent mixed methods design. The data were also systematically triangulated. For this purpose, the evaluators compared secondary data from programme documents and statistics with their own primary data from three online surveys of approximately 1,500 German development cooperation professionals (survey of all active team leaders, development workers and integrated experts), case study interviews with over 250 experts in eight partner countries, plus a total of around 35 expert interviews and background discussions held chiefly with BMZ and GIZ personnel in Germany.