CEDIL - Centre for Evaluation Lecture Series

CEDIL – Centre for Evaluation Lecture Series

The Centre of Excellence for Development Impact and Learning (CEDIL) and the Centre for Evaluation host a lecture series addressing methods and innovation in primary studies.

Lecture Four – Thursday 30th August 2018 – 3:30 PM – 5:30 PM IST- Dr Howard White

Location – ISID, Auditorium Hall, ISID Complex, 4, Institutional Area Phase II, Vasant Kunj, New Delhi, DL 110070


Mid-level (or mid-range) theory rests between a project-level theory of change and grand theory. The specification and testing of mid-level theories help support the generalizability and transferability of study findings.

For example, in economics, the operation of the price mechanism to balance supply and demand is a grand theory. An agricultural fertilizer subsidy programme would have a project-level theory which partly draws on the theory of supply and demand: lowering price increases demand). A mid-level theory could be developed related to the use of price subsidies, of which the fertilizer programme would be a specific application.

This talk will adopt the transtheoretical model of behaviour change to apply mid-level theory to the analysis of two sets of interventions: the adoption of health behaviour, and promoting evidence-based policy change.

Howard WhitePresenter: Professor Howard White is the CEO of the Campbell Collaboration and the Research Director for the Centre for Excellence in Development Impact and Learning (CEDIL). This presentation is based on work undertaken as a part of CEDIL.



Previous Lectures

Lecture Three – Wednesday 18th July 2018

Jerry Morris B, LSHTM 15-17 Tavistock Place, London, WC1H 9SH – 12:45-14:00

Development Impact Attribution: Mental Models and Methods in ‘Mixed Marriage’ Evaluations

Watch the recorded lecture here

The marriage metaphor will be used to explore collaboration that spans academic traditions and disciplines, researchers and managers, public and private sector agencies. The idea of mental models will be used to explore the ontological, epistemological, contractual and socio-political tensions created by formalised evaluative practice. It will focus particularly on experience with mixing qualitative impact evaluation with other approaches to generating evidence, learning and legitimising public action. It will draw on case studies from the garment industry, medical training, housing microfinance and agriculture spanning three continents.

James Copestake portraitSpeaker: Prof. James Copestake James Copestake is a professor of international development at the University of Bath. In addition to recent work on the Qualitative Impact Protocol, his recent research has addressed contested perceptions of well-being in Peru, financial inclusion and microfinance in India, the relationship between social policy and development studies, and use of challenge funds in aid management.



Lecture Two – Wednesday 30th May 2018 – Dr Rick Davies 

Jerry Morris B, LSHTM 15-17 Tavistock Place, London, WC1H 9SH – 12:45-14:00

Representing Theories of Change Technical Challenges and Evaluation Consequences

Watch the recorded lecture here

This lecture will summarise the main points of a paper of the same name. That paper looks at the technical issues associated with the representation of Theories of Change and the implications of design choices for the evaluability of those theories. The focus is on the description of connections between events, rather the events themselves, because this is seen as a widespread design weakness. Using examples and evidence from a range of Internet sources six structural problems are described, along with their consequences for evaluation. The paper then outlines six different ways of addressing these problems, which could be used by programme designers and by evaluators. These solutions range from simple to follow advice on designing more adequate diagrams, to the use of specialist software for the manipulation of much more complex static and dynamic network models. The paper concludes with some caution, speculating on why the design problems are so endemic but also pointing a way forward. Three strands of work are identified that CEDIL and DFID could invest in to develop solutions identified in the paper.

Rick Davies portraitSpeaker: Dr Rick Davies Rick Davies in an independent Monitoring and Evaluation consultant, based in Cambridge, UK. He has managed the MandE NEWS website and email lists since 1997. His recent consultancy work and publications are listed here.


Lecture One – Wednesday 11th April 2018 – Dr Howard White

The Four Waves of the Evidence Revolution: Progress and Challenges in Evidence-Based Policy and Practice

Watch the recorded lecture here

The evidence movement has rolled out in four waves since the 1990s: the results agenda, the rise of RCTs, systematic reviews, and developing an evidence architecture. This revolution is uneven across sectors and countries and is an unfinished revolution. Drawing on experiences from around the world, this talk will provide a historical overview of the evidence movement and the challenges it faces. Response to these challenges will be considered, including those offered by the work of CEDIL.

Howard WhiteSpeaker: Dr Howard White, Research Director – CEDIL Chair: Mr Owen Barder, Vice President  Center for Global Development