So What?

Soccer Redux

August 1, 2014

The “Right” Evidence?

Last week, we wrote about evidence-based decision-making. In a follow-up email to us, one curious “So What?” reader raised a big question: whose evidence do these decisions get based on? At a time when definitions of evidence vary, as in this piece in The New Yorker about pesticide research, evaluators should also consider how decisions ultimately get made – where the pressures, incentives and interests are coming from. If y’all know of some good articles tackling this issue, send them our way!

Political Debates

The National Democratic Institute and the Commission on Presidential Debates just released a new website to help countries around the world host and evaluate political debates. In addition to plenty of checklists, guides, and sample debate regulations, the website offers a short but growing list of research studies on the impact of candidate debates on the voting public. We’re often tasked with evaluating NGO interventions in diverse political spaces, so we’ll be keeping our eye on this resource as it develops in the coming months. 

A Return to Soccer

It’s been a few weeks, but we’re still trying to get over our World Cup withdrawal. What’s the next best thing? Evaluating sports programs, of course. The Design, Monitoring and Evaluation for Peacebuilding group (also known as DM&E for Peace) published a pithy blog post this week about the challenge of assessing youth empowerment sports programs. Blogger AnnMarie Fitzhenry interviewed folks at three NGOs doing this work and wrote about what she learned. A good starting point: what do we mean by “empowerment”? And what counts as a “success”?