Saturday, July 6, 2013

Monitoring and Evaluation + Statistical Research

Using Research Methodology in Monitoring and Evaluation

Monitoring and Evaluation is actually research if you come to think of it. Take for instance when it comes to conducting Evaluations, what methodology do evaluators usually use to conduct these in depth assessments? Well you will find them using research designs like non-experimental and quazi research. But most times as a developmental organizations you may be doing your research but not really paying attention to the rules of research that can really make your Monitoring and Evaluation reports credible and effective. Monitoring outputs is the easy part but when an organization decides to take up the responisbility of Monitoring and Evaluating outcomes and impacts, then there may be some need for some research skills. Lets consider research skills that ROCKS!! in Research Methodolgy.

Must have Research Skills in Monitoring and Evaluation

1) Effective Sampling Skills; As an organizations attempting to measure progress on your programme or project you will have to select samples. Sampling is really the cost effective and realistic way to measure progress among a smaller target group than having to interview the over 100,000 individuals that your project may be targeting. But even when you want to bring effective sampling skills in the world of Monitoring and Evaluation you have to realize which research design is appropriate. If you are using an experimental research design you are definitely going to use random sampling (which has been known to be more credible) but if you are using a quazi research design then you will know outrghtly that this will involve non-random sampling. The point is, that the sample group is critical because this is a group that is going to be deemed representative of all the target group of the project or programme.

2) Effective analytical Skills; You want to be good at doing analysis and showing through statistical analysis that your findings are credible. Again its not about knowing in depth mathematics but you should be sure to use basic analytical approaches such as the mean, range, mode and other basics. You see what really people want to know is what progress is being made by the project or programme? If there is progress or not the question is why?

3) Effective attribution skills; One of the many pains that have given project or programme implementers a nightmare is how they can attribute change to their developmental support from their intervention. In research one way to conquer this is to have control groups. What is a control group? A control group is a group that has not been receiving any developmental support from your programme or project. The aim of setting a control group is to make a comparison with the group you are supporting in order to see whether there is any significant change. There are research/statistical approaches and methodologies that can actually tell you whether this change between the control group and intervention group has been significant.

Applying Statistical approaches in Monitoring and Evaluation

The z test and t test are very useful approaches that can be used even in Monitoring and Evaluation especially in Evaluation. The t test in particular assesses whether the difference in means of two groups is statistically significant. This is really usefull when comparing a control group with an intervention group.

But what really is the point of even using these statistically methodologies? Well you want to improve the credibility of your findings and also be able to hold your heads high as you show off your Monitoring and Evaluation findings to the whole world. This blog will soon show you how to apply these statistical methodologies in the real world because the real world is where we live in. Take Monitoring and Evaluation to a whole different level folks.


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