Evaluation is integral to our work. It provides evidence of how and why research initiatives succeed or fall short of their objectives. This evidence can improve an ongoing project, strengthen the planning of new initiatives, and refine our programming. Evaluations examine results, and help us better understand how research contributes to solving development problems.
Our approach to evaluation
We conduct formal evaluations to track our results, to generate knowledge, and to remain accountable to the Canadian government and public, donor partners, researchers, and colleagues within the research and development communities. We also apply evaluation practices in our day-to-day work. Solid evidence helps us test assumptions and maintain our focus on results. We work closely with our international partners to evaluate projects and develop methodologies to meet the complex needs of developing countries.
Learn about Evaluation at IDRC (PDF, 606KB)
IDRC’s evaluation system
Within IDRC, evaluation is a shared responsibility that occurs at the project, program, and corporate levels. The decision to evaluate is strategic, and based on issues such as risk, materiality (investment significance), priority, and learning potential. Our evaluation approach depends on who will use the results, and how they will use them.
Individual research projects are evaluated on a strategic basis, usually commissioned by the responsible project officer or the funded research team.
We evaluate IDRC programs to help us learn and improve, and to meet our accountability requirements to the Board of Governors. When a program is co-funded, we design the evaluation approach to ensure donor organizations meet their accountability and learning needs too.
We conduct external program reviews toward the end of each program cycle. These are our primary accountability mechanism for the results, effectiveness, and relevance of program spending.
We assess organizational outcomes to examine cross-cutting issues related to results or programming strategies.
- We are currently conducting an evaluation project in the area of bringing research results to scale
- Research Quality
- Communicating research for influence (2012)
- Policy Influence on Research (2009)
- Devolving Programs (2009)
- IDRC’s Participation in Large Conferences (2009)
- Competitive Grant Projects (2008)
- Capacity Building (2008)
- Networks (2005)
Visit our evaluation inventory to read our evaluation reports
New evaluation methods
When traditional evaluation approaches do not adequately assess the results of development research, we work with experts to create and test new ones. These methods are rigorous, learning-oriented, and aligned with the complexities of development research.
- Research Quality "Plus" Assessment Instrument
- Accountability Principles for Research Organizations
- Gender Evaluation Methodology
- Organizational Assessment
Guidelines for evaluating development research
Learn more about how to improve the quality and consistency of evaluations:
- Better Evaluation guide on how to commission evaluations of development research programs
- IDRC evaluation guidelines by topic
Connect with your Global Evaluation Community
Living in the Global South? Access free evaluation journals.