Evaluate experiences: a qualitative technique to complement quantitative impact assessments
JOURNAL OF DEVELOPMENT EFFECTIVENESS
Human Sciences Research Council-South Africa
Impact evaluations, whether of aid, development interventions or policy interventions, help hold donors and policy makers accountable for promises made and provide a means to legitimise recommendations for future interventions. Quantitative approaches are the order of the day but do not fully capture the complex and nuanced characteristics of communities important to understand the full effects of interventions and/or identify required interventions. This article describes a cost-effective approach to capturing large volumes of qualitative data in anecdotal form that can help inform interventions and approaches to research. Data collected by using the technique in a poor, urban, mixed race settlement in South Africa are reviewed and used to provide recommendations on research in poverty. For reasons consistent with the theoretical framework explained, recommendations are limited to three: consider carefully intergenerational dynamics when researching poor areas; be responsible about differences in value scales; and be conscious of how differently the researched see the world. A discussion using the method in mixed methods research is provided.