Impact Plus evaluations follow the DAC/OECD principles and the DeGEval standards for evaluations. They foresee an evaluation methodology and tools which correspond to the following principles:
- Accuracy: The evaluators strive to ensure that the evaluation produces and discloses valid and useful information and findings pertaining to the evaluation questions. The evaluation results shall provide an empirical basis for a dialogue between the project partners.
- Usefulness: The evaluators strive to ensure that the evaluation shall be useful to all the stakeholders, i.e. that it is guided by both the clarified purposes of the evaluation and the information needs of its intended users.
- Learning: Another important purpose of the evaluation is to promote learning processes which should be useful for the project partners.
- Facilitation: In this endeavour, the evaluators act as facilitators for exploring the reality and for reflection on the findings. They follow a ‘counselling’ approach, i.e. they strongly focus on processes of reflection, learning, and dialogue.
- Transparency: The goals and intentions of the evaluation should be made transparent towards other actors, especially towards the evaluated partner organisations.
- Participation: A prerequisite for success of an evaluation study is the active involvement of primary stakeholders (most of all: beneficiaries and representatives of partner organisations on different levels) by the evaluators, as well as the accessibility of results and recommendations to all involved parties.
- Triangulation: One useful way of ensuring the validity is the triangulation. The evaluators will consider information and opinions from various perspectives to analyse the findings, mainly by stakeholder triangulation and methodological triangulation.
Impact Plus evaluations usually focus on effects (outcomes and impacts). This implies the search for evidence on two main aspects:
- The description or measurement of change observed and
- The attribution of the observed change to the interventions.
The combination of these two aspects is envisaged for all the interviews and group discussions. The methodological approaches, however, will be adapted for different respondents.
Change has to be seen against the background of the following general trends:
- Intensification of a positive trend,
- Reducing of a negative trend,
- Reversal of a negative trend.
The general notion of “change” may therefore even include the maintenance of the status quo. The reference then is the question for the counterfactual: “What would the situation be like if there had been no intervention?“
Impact Plus preferably uses “Tiny Tools” from NGO-IDEAs to assess outcomes and impacts together with the stakeholders: these are simple, time efficient and participatory tools.