Evaluating a Complex Research Capacity-Building Intervention

Reflections on an Evaluation of the African Institutions Initiative

Published in: Evaluation, Vol. 23, Issue 1, 2017, p. 81-101

Posted on RAND.org on February 13, 2017

by Sonja Marjanovic, Gavin Cochrane, Enora Robin, Nelson Sewankambo, Alex Ezeh, Nyirenda Moffat, Bassirou Bonfoh, Mark Rweyemamu, Joanna Chataway

Read More

Access further information on this document at journals.sagepub.com

This article was published outside of RAND. The full text of the article can be found at the link above.

There is increasing policy demand for real-time evaluations of research and capacity-building programmes reflecting a recognition of the management, governance and impact gains that can result. However, the evidence base on how to successfully implement real-time evaluations of complex interventions in international development efforts is scarce. There is therefore a need for reflective work that considers methodologies in context. This article shares learning from the experience of conducting a participatory, real-time, ‘theory driven’ evaluation of the African Institutions Initiative, a Wellcome Trust-funded programme that aimed to build sustainable health research capacity in Africa at institutional and network levels, across seven research consortia. We reflect on the key challenges experienced and ways of managing them, highlight opportunities and critical success factors associated with this evaluation approach, compared with alternative evaluation approaches.

Research conducted by

This report is part of the RAND Corporation External publication series. Many RAND studies are published in peer-reviewed scholarly journals, as chapters in commercial books, or as documents published by other organizations.

Our mission to help improve policy and decisionmaking through research and analysis is enabled through our core values of quality and objectivity and our unwavering commitment to the highest level of integrity and ethical behavior. To help ensure our research and analysis are rigorous, objective, and nonpartisan, we subject our research publications to a robust and exacting quality-assurance process; avoid both the appearance and reality of financial and other conflicts of interest through staff training, project screening, and a policy of mandatory disclosure; and pursue transparency in our research engagements through our commitment to the open publication of our research findings and recommendations, disclosure of the source of funding of published research, and policies to ensure intellectual independence. For more information, visit www.rand.org/about/principles.

The RAND Corporation is a nonprofit institution that helps improve policy and decisionmaking through research and analysis. RAND's publications do not necessarily reflect the opinions of its research clients and sponsors.