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Evaluation Pathway 4: Rigorous Impact Evaluations

Rigorous impact evaluations can provide USAID with strong evidence about the effects of specific interventions and approaches the Agency is using to achieve development goals. Impact evaluations involve structured tests of clearly articulated hypotheses, and a counterfactual is used to clarify what would have occurred—how much change in the results of interest would have been observed—in the absence of USAID's assistance intervention.

USAID expects that roughly 10% of its evaluations will be Impact Evaluations of this type, and many of those will be undertaken in pilot and other types of innovative projects. This pathway will help you learn how to identify when an Impact Evaluation might be worth undertaking, and how to proceed once that decision is made.

Pathway Steps of Interest Evaluation Pathway #4: 
Rigorous Impact Evaluations
Resources on this Pathway
Program Perspective Project Perspective
1   Opportunities for Impact Evaluation Overview of Impact Evaluation in relation to ADS 201.3.3.4
  1 Impact Evaluation Decision Highlights project design as critical point for making firm decisions about Impact Evaluations; guidance on focusing on specific interventions
2 2 Impact Evaluation Designs Overview of experimental and quasi-experimental designs (links to resources, including full length Impact Evaluation in Practice used in USAID's evaluation courses)
3 3 Impact Evaluation Decision Tree Graphic model for determining whether an Impact Evaluation is possible and if so, what type of Impact Evaluation is possible, and if so, what type of Impact Evaluation would be the best fit
4 4 Impact Evaluation Start-Up Plans Graphic that illustrates time line for setting up a parallel Impact Evaluation mechanism
5 5 High Quality Evaluation Reports USAID "How To" evaluation report guidance; options for structuring report findings, conclusions and recommendations (also a step on Evaluation Pathway #2)
6 6 USAID Evaluation Report Template Template for preparing an Evaluation Report for USAID (also a step on Evaluation Pathway #2)
7 7 Evaluation Report Review Checklist Checklist for reviewing evaluation reports or sharing it in advance with those who will write them. (also a step on Evaluation Pathway #2)

* Usefulness for IEs depends on whether there are additional questions (beyond causality) that require different designs/methods.