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2013.09.09.I author: European Association of Development Agencies -

Monitoring and evaluation

Following DG Regio's presentation at the S3 Platform's Mirror Group, the sample of over 70 regional draft strategies shows that the weakest point in the establishment of a regional smart specialisation strategy seems to be the sixth step "Monitoring and evaluation".

With this in mind DG Regio reminded the participants of the existence of a paper issued last April, called "Guidance document on Monitoring and Evaluation - The programming period 2014-2020 concepts and recommendations" (click here for the full document). We recommend you to have a look at this paper, it contains some useful examples and inspiration.

"Impact evaluation – capturing effects

To disentangle the effects of the intervention from the contribution of other factors and to understand the functioning of a programme is a task for impact evaluation. Two distinctive questions are to be answered:

  • did the public intervention have an effect at all  and if yes, how big – positive or negative – was this effect. The question is:  Does it work? Is there a causal link? This is the question counterfactual impact evaluations aim to answer.
  • why an intervention produces intended (and unintended) effects. The goal is to answer the “why and how it works?” question. To answer this question is the aim of theory-based impact evaluations.

Note that both questions cannot exist in complete separation from each other: Each evaluation asking  the "does it work" question needs to assume basic elements of a theory of change (a how? and why?) to determine which changes should be looked at and attributed to a cause. Similarly, every evaluation asking "why it works?" will assume – maybe implicitly – a counterfactual situation. This is the conceptual level at which the two wings of impact evaluation share some features, whilst primarily answering the two different questions of "does it work?" and "why?" "


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