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Using Evidence

It is essential that project designs benefit from analysis or the acquisition of development experience and lessons learned through high-quality evaluations, assessments, other studies, and performance monitoring data.

ID considers an evidence-based approach to be as important for project design as it is for the development of a CDCS. It expects that a project design team will cast a broad net to bring into the design process related evaluations, assessments, studies, etc., that can inform the design process including project performance to date for ongoing projects. Where available, the design team should review and compare the unit cost of delivery with other comparable projects.

As this process parallels the evidence gathering steps in the development of a CDCS, processes and tools developed for CDCS preparation can also be used in project design. When beginning this process, you may find two elements of the CDCS section of this kit helpful, namely:

A blank version of the sample form described above is shown below. You can access and use the full version of this template during project design by going to Evaluation Evidence for Project Design.

Evidence Summary Table
Evaluation Title, author, source, URL or other means of access
Specific Evidence Specific findings relevant to the CDCS design
Evidence Strength What makes this evidence strong or not very strong?

For USAID staff beginning a trade project design process, access to previous trade evaluations carried out by USAID and other donors is important.

  • The bibliography in From Aid to Trade: Delivering Results includes a lengthy list of USAID and other donor evaluations of trade capacity building projects and programs that has been excerpted as The USAID Trade Evaluation List and updated to include trade evaluations added to the USAID DEC and other directories between 2010 and September 2012.
  • USAID evaluations undertaken since then can be found through USAID’s Evaluation Showcase or the Development Experience Clearinghouse (DEC). A broader range of more recent donor evaluations can be found in the OECD’s DAC Evaluation Resource Center (DEReC).
  • Recent impact evaluations that focus on trade can also be found at the J-PAL, DIME and 3ie sites described on the Locating Evaluation page in this kit.