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Programme Evaluation in Development


Credits: 4 ECTS

First semester

Elective Courses




Programme evaluations are an area of increasing importance in the field of international development cooperation. This introductory course will familiarize students with the major tools, methodological choices, and practical challenges typically faced by development practitioners when implementing these evaluations.

The course will start with the 'politics' of programme evaluation, focusing on normative questions, such as 'who decides what gets evaluated and what results get disseminated?', and the inherent tensions that often exist between the people involved in the actual planning and implementation of development programmes and the researchers who evaluate them. The second part of the course will introduce students to critical tools of programme evaluation, such as theories of change, log frames, and performance indicators. The third part will review the respective strengths and weaknesses of various qualitative and quantitative evaluation methods, including participatory appraisals and focus groups, surveys, experimental methods, and process tracing studies. The last section will discuss specific challenges and solutions for programme evaluations and data collection in humanitarian settings, an area of increasing importance for development agencies.

Note that this course aims to provide a non-technical overview of the field of evaluation. The method of instruction will be practice- and case-study based, with a focus on the feasibility and value-added of different evaluation approaches for specific programme contexts and evaluation purposes. Those who wish to receive more specialized training in quantitative evaluation techniques are encouraged to take a complementary course on Experimental Evaluation methods in the second semester (9042). The course will also be complemented by another elective on Programme Design and Development (9086, second semester).


The course will be evaluated as follows:

  • In-class participation: 10%
  • Seminar case study presentation: 20%

Seminar presentations will be made by teams of two students, including a ten minute-long in-class presentation and animation of classroom discussion. Students self-select into groups around case study topics shared in week 1

  • Programme evaluation case study  40%

Teams of two students to develop a proposed evaluation design for a case study programme of their choice (students will be presented with a set of case study examples in late November). In-class presentation at the end of the semester (20% of the total course grade) and a written project (20% of the total course grade, due early January). 

  • Individual assessment (30%)

Individual essay, critically reviewing one evaluation proposal of other class members, 1500-2000 words (due late January, before start of extensive courses)       

The penalty for late submission of coursework is 0.5/10.00 per 24 hours. If you foresee a reason for late submission please contact the course teacher as soon as possible prior to the due date.

Competences, learning outcomes and teaching activities (PDF)


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