The unfinished evidence revolution: riding the five waves

Methods Working Paper 8

Howard White

The last thirty years have seen an evidence revolution which has developed in four waves: outcome monitoring, impact evaluation, systematic reviews and knowledge brokering (see White, 2019). But this is an unfinished revolution. Further work, and investment, is needed at all levels of the knowledge pyramid, which are partly represented by different waves of the evidence revolution.

This paper examines the current state of each of the waves of the evidence revolution. I offer a critical perspective on each wave, and discuss the implications for evaluation in the field of international development. Whilst the use of evidence has grown, underuse and misuse remain. More importantly, there has been a failure to institutionalize the use of evidence beyond the intervention level. The last part offers some concluding comments.

Suggested citation:

White, H. 2022. The unfinished evidence revolution: riding the five waves. CEDIL Methods Working Paper 8. London/Oxford: Centre of Excellence for Development Impact and Learning (CEDIL).

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