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White & Phillips Small n Impact Evaluation WP Version[1]

White & Phillips Small n Impact Evaluation WP Version[1]

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Addressing attribution of cause and effect in small
n
impact evaluations:towards an integrated frameworkHoward White and Daniel Phillips
International Initiative for Impact EvaluationWorking Paper 15May 2012
 
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About 3ie
The International Initiative for Impact Evaluation (3ie)
works to improvethe lives of people in the developing world by supporting the production and useof evidence on what works, when, why and for how much. 3ie is a new initiativewhich responds to demands for better evidence, and will enhance developmenteffectiveness by promoting better-informed policies. 3ie finances high-qualityimpact evaluations and campaigns to inform better programme and policy designin developing countries.The
3ie Working Paper series
covers both conceptual issues related to impactevaluation and findings from specific studies or systematic reviews. The views inthe papers are those of the authors, and cannot be taken to represent the viewsof 3ie, its members, or any of its funders.This Working Paper was written by Howard White and Daniel Phillips, 3ie, andedited and produced by Radhika Menon and Mukul Soni, 3ie. Cover design byMukul Soni.
Acknowledgements
The authors would like to thank members of the cross-college working group onimpact evaluation, especially Clare Chandler, who offered advice and useful
information which helped in the paper‟s development. We would like to thank
Fred Carden, Rick Davies, Katherine Hay, Lina Payne, Wendy Olsen, John Mayne,Bruno Marchal, Robert Brinkerhoff, Julia Betts, Karl Hughes, Kimberly Bowmanand Eric Djimeu for constructive criticism, ideas and information that have led torevisions of the paper. We are also grateful to colleagues from 3ie whose ideasand information have contributed to our work.
 
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Table of Contents
Abstract .................................................................................................... 41 Introduction .......................................................................................... 52 Defining Small
n
..................................................................................... 63 Evaluation approaches for small
n
impact analysis ...................................... 8
 
3.1 Group I approaches........................................................................... 93.2 Group II approaches ....................................................................... 163.3 Small
n
attribution .......................................................................... 214 Tackling bias ........................................................................................ 24
 
4.1 Respondent biases ........................................................................... 254.2 Evaluator biases .............................................................................. 274.3 addressing bias ............................................................................... 285 Towards an integrated framework: common steps for causal inference in small
n
cases ................................................................................................... 29
 
6 Conclusion ........................................................................................... 33
 
7 Bibliography ........................................................................................ 35
 Annexes
1 Approaches for small
n
analysis: extended summaries .............................. 421.1 Realist Evaluation ........................................................................... 421.2 General Elimination Methodology (GEM) ............................................ 451.3 Process Tracing .............................................................................. 471.4 Contribution Analysis....................................................................... 491.5 Most Significant Change (MSC) ......................................................... 511.6 The Success Case Method (SCM) ...................................................... 551.7 Outcome Mapping ........................................................................... 571.8 Method for impact Assessment of Programs and Projects (MAPP) .......... 611.9 Qualitative Comparative Analysis (QCA) ............................................ 642 Small
n
approaches: comparison tables .................................................. 69

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