Is a review just a quick and dirty (or clean) evaluation?

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Pic from SilentMode Drew Maughan via flickr. Creative Commons

Evaluation is plagued by inconsistent terminology. Often different words are often used for the same thing and the same words are used to mean different things.

(Periodically discussions erupt on EVALTALK about the difference between research and evaluation. Increasingly

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Simple, complicated and complex perspectives on accountability and Three Cups of Tea controversy

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I’m hopeful that the current controversy over Greg Mortenson’s book ‘Three Cups of Tea’ and the operations of the related NGO ‘Central Asia Institute’ (detailed in John Krakauer’s book Three Cups of Deceit and a 60 minutes story) will lead to improvements in how development interventions and organizations are planned, implemented, evaluated and reported.

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Is evaluation really useful for accountability?

We often see evaluation justified in terms of improving accountability (and learning). Recently, I’ve been wondering how realistic this really is.

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Bad faith survey

Over-sampling of particular population strata, and subsequent reweighting of the responses to match the population, might be appropriate sometimes, but not when it involves gathering and then discarding data about a politically contentious and high cost program.

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