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Long Term Perspectives in Evaluation


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Table of Contents

1. Introduction 2. Historians’ Debates on Time and the Nature of Historical Research 3. Counting the Long-Term in Evaluation 4. Contribution Analysis and the Long-term Perspective: Challenges and Opportunities 5. Using a Wide Lens to Take a Long view: How Integrating Systems Thinking into Evaluations Can Assist in Taking a Long-term Perspective 6. Reforms of Local Governments in Denmark 7. Reform Takes Time, but Politics won’t Wait – The Scope for Long-term Evaluation in the Education Sector 8. Looking from a Local Place to Take the Long View in Evaluation 9. Complex Development Aid Evaluations: The Aid Quality Evaluation Framework 10. Why Take a Long View? How Formal and Informal Rules Influence the Choice of Time Perspectives in International Development Evaluations 11. Long-Term Causal Inference 12. From Measuring Impact to Understanding Change 13. Concluding Remarks on Evaluating the Long-term: It Works but Can be Made to Work Better!

About the Author

Kim Forss holds a PhD from the Stockholm School of Economics. His research has concerned comparative studies of evaluation, the design of inquiring systems and organizational learning, utilization of results, as well as process use of evaluation. He works as an independent researcher out of his firm Andante - tools for thinking AB.

Ida Lindkvist is Senior Advisor at the Evaluation Department in the Norwegian Agency for Development Cooperation (Norad). She holds a PhD in economics from the University of Bergen and her research interest includes the political economy of evaluation and the practice of results based management and results-based financing in aid.

Mark McGillivray is Research Professor of International Development at Alfred Deakin Institute, Deakin University, Australia. His previous positions include Chief Economist of the Australian Agency for International Development and Deputy Director of the United Nations World Institute for Development Economics Research. Mark’s research interests include aid effectiveness and allocation and complex international development evaluations.


"This book offers a persuasive acknowledgement of the relevance of adding a longer temporal dimension to the repertoire of evaluators. Taking the long view in evaluation puts old concerns about change and causality under a new light. It helps understanding program trajectories, their fate and their impact on society. Moreover, locating programs in the history of the places where they are implemented will help understanding the reasons for their achievements or backlash." — Nicoletta Stame, Sapienza University of Roma"Looking at the long term is an exercise in wisdom, and we have too little of it, too late. The evaluator is capable of it and needs to seize the exciting opportunities outlined in this book." — Kent Myers, PhD, US Intelligence Analyst"As a former policymaker, in a Finance Ministry as well as a Central Bank, I have great respect for the need for fast and accurate information about the consequences of policies pursued. But this is not enough. There is also a need for deeper understanding of complex effects and their causes, as well as for following the effects in a longer perspective – looking back and looking ahead. This information is also required when new policies are designed. Against this background I read Long-term perspectives in Evaluation: Increasing Relevance and Utility with great interest." — Lars Heikensten CEO of the Nobel Foundation and former Governor of the Swedish Central Bank

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