Weekly links | Week of the 6th May

It’s been a short week here in the UK, but with four seasons in four days it feels like a while since Monday. Here are five evaluation-related links to start the weekend.

  1. Canada’s International Development Research Centre (IDRC) have announced a new tool for assessing evidence that gives more weight to research that accounts for context articulates dimensions of quality. The idea is that this will move away from traditional metrics that preference literature in American and Western European journals and raise the profile of Southern-only research. They published an article on their approach in Nature.
  2. Ultra-poor graduation programmes have been causing a lot of discussion for a while in the development sector. There’s been a lot of good evidence produced through rigorous evaluation. To add some depth to the findings, qualitative research is being published, and is described here on the World Bank’s blog. 
  3. Difference in difference models are special cases of lagged regression — or are they? See blog and comments for discussion.
  4. A (very sad) cautionary tale: warning people not to drink arsenic-contaminated water in Bangladesh may have increased child mortality by 45%; other options were contaminated with human waste. A reminder that interventions have potential to do harm, which should be captured in evaluation.
  5. Using evidence from 16 studies, researchers have found that people will often object to randomisation to see which of two policies is better, even when there is no reason to pick one policy over another. As they say, ‘This experimentation aversion may be an important barrier to evidence-based practice.’
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