Monday, 6 January 2014

Review and detective work

Most of the 74 evaluation reports in our first coding round do not display the evaluator’s or the commissioner’s contact details. In some cases, the evaluators remain anonymous; in other cases, the only e-mail address available in the report is a generic This has surprised us – in our own evaluation practice, we always include our e-mail addresses so that our counterparts can get in touch with us in case, say, they wish to work with us again.

Even where we could find an e-mail address, it was not easy to elicit a response. One could blame the busy season - early December, when in many countries the festive season starts and/ or the fiscal year is about to end. But I was puzzled to see that even in organisations with dedicated monitoring and evaluation staff, knowledge about evaluations – including fairly recent ones (2011-2012) in the public domain – appeared uneven.

Our hunt for addresses continues; we are seeing light at the end of the tunnel. Many thanks to everyone who has helped finding evaluation stakeholders around the world! We are particularly indebted to people in organisations with several evaluations of VAWG-related work and who have been specially generous in sharing information at this busy time: extra thanks to CARE, FOKUS (fokuskvinner), the International Rescue Committee, Oxfam, the Population Council, UNICEF and WOMANKIND. We have also benefited from the support of the Review Reference Group members (special thanks to Amanda Sim, Helen Lindley and Krishna Belbase). Some UNDP country registries have also proven effective in identifying evaluation stakeholders when we had no other contacts.

For a handful of evaluations found via the web, we have not yet managed to obtain any addresses that work. We will post the list shortly to ask for 'crowdsourcing' support in identifying stakeholders. If the authors and users remain shrouded in mystery, we will have to remove these evaluations from our QCA set. Which is OK – QCA also works with small sets of cases. But it would be hard to draw conclusions for the overall evaluation landscape if we ended up with, say, just a dozen of evaluations.

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