I have submitted a conference report on the "Politics of Evidence" Conference in Brighton (April 2013) to a German evaluation journal. Check this blog for an announcement of its publication date! Meanwhile, here's an abstract in English:
More than 100 specialists participated in the ‘Politics of Evidence’ conference at the Institute of Development Studies in April 2013. The main theme was the growing tendency to tie funding for international development and transformative initiatives to the use of pre-defined instruments (‘evidence artifacts’) for effectiveness and impact assessment – and how to deal with this trend.
The participants were in favour of well-informed planning and robust monitoring as a source of information for effective project steering, and as way to expand the knowledge base. However, when the use of a narrow spectrum of specific instruments becomes an obligation, distortion and loss of effectiveness may occur. A key conclusion was the call for rigorous relevance and relevant rigour, i.e.: the main criterion for the choice of instruments for project monitoring should be the extent to which they generate practical use.
Here is the link to the conference and to the papers delivered by Rosalind Eyben and Brendan Whitty respectively. (Click on the names to get to the paper.) Additional resources are available on the Politics of Evidence site under "Resources".
By the way, the notes of a somewhat smaller but equally interesting event at the Institute of Development Studies (IDS) in Brighton are also available on the web now. The Centre for Development Impact has hosted an "Impact Innovation and Learning Event: Towards a Research and Practice Agenda for the Future". Click on the title to get to their web-site, which includes the keynote speakers' power point presentations as well as a list of 18 action points. I also recommend the site of the IDS Centre for Development Impact, a fairly new group that brings together academic research and evaluation practice. To be continued...