Evaluation is integral to our work. It provides evidence of how and why research initiatives succeed or fall short of their objectives. Such information can improve an ongoing project, strengthen the planning of new initiatives, and refine our programming. Evaluations examine results, and help us better understand how research contributes to solving development problems.

Our approach to evaluation

To remain accountable, we conduct formal evaluations that track our results. We also apply evaluation practices in our day-to-day work. Solid evidence helps us test assumptions and maintain our focus on results. We work closely with our international partners to evaluate projects and develop methodologies to meet the complex needs of developing countries. Our evaluation goals? To be value-based, reflective, and questioning.

IDRC’s evaluation system

Within IDRC, evaluation is a shared responsibility that occurs at the project, program, and corporate levels. The decision to evaluate is strategic, and not routine. We choose what to evaluate based on issues such as risk, materiality (investment significance), priority, and learning potential. These evaluations inform our decisions. Our evaluation approach depends on who will use the results, and how they will use them.

Project evaluations

Individual research projects are evaluated on a strategic basis, usually commissioned by the responsible project officer or the funded research team.

Program evaluations

We evaluate IDRC programs to meet our accountability requirements to the Board of Governors. The results help us learn and improve. When a program is co-funded, we design the evaluation approach to ensure donor organizations meet their accountability and learning needs too. 

Organizational evaluations

We assess organizational outcomes to examine cross-cutting issues related to results or programming strategies. For example, our Research Quality Plus (RQ+) Assessment Instrument has helped us better assess the quality of development research. To ensure that we are self-critical and adapt to changing needs, we initiated an evaluation project in the area of bringing research results to scale.

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New evaluation methods

​When traditional evaluation approaches do not adequately assess the results of development research, we work with experts to create and test new ones. These methods are rigorous, learning-oriented, and aligned with the complexities of development research.

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​Guidelines​ for evaluating development research

Learn more about how to improve the quality and consistency of evaluations: