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The Methods Lab: improving practice for impact evaluation in DFAT

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The Methods Lab seeks to develop, test and institutionalise flexible approaches to impact evaluation. It focuses on interventions which are harder to evaluate because of their diversity and complexity, or where traditional impact evaluation approaches may not be feasible.

The Methods Lab is an action learning collaboration between the ODI, BetterEvaluation and the Australian Department for Foreign Affairs and Trade. We aim to identify lessons and tools from current programmes, with wider application potential.

To date, we have worked with the following development programmes: Indonesia, Poverty Reduction Support Facility (PRSF); Pacific, portfolio of infrastructure investments (with NZMFAT); Nepal, Micro-Enterprise Development Programme (MEDEP); Afghanistan, Australia-Afghanistan Community Resilience Scheme (AACRS); and Australian Mekong NGO Platform (AMNEP).

In addition, we are learning about the application of different evaluation approaches through embedded work with, among others: Pathways to Resilience in Semi-arid Economies (PRISE); Youth Forward Learning Partnership; and Knowledge Sector Initiative (KSI).

The Methods Lab evaluation toolkit brings together our analysis, guidance and templates.

For more information contact Tiina Pasanen.


Anne Buffardi, Irene Guijt, Simon Hearn, Tiina Pasanen, Greet Peersman, Patricia Rogers

Supported by


  1. Realist impact evaluation: an introduction

    Working papers