The following resources are recommended for M&E learning and practice. The separate webpage on this website, M&E Capacity Building Resources, provides more specific resources for the planning, delivery and evaluation of M&E and related training and learning. For the most part, recommended resources are limited to those that can be freely accessed online. Hyperlinks will be periodically checked and updated, but if one is no longer working, an online search using the resource title should lead you to it. Feel free to contact me if you come across an oversight or have additional resources you would like to bring to my attention.
10 Recommended Publications for M&E
There is no shortage of publications on M&E, many of which are highlighted on this website. Far from exhaustive, the following ten recommended publications for M&E are freely available online.
- Project/Programme Monitoring and Evaluation (M&E) Guide (IFRC, 2011). I confess that I’m biased as I lead the development of this guide when working for the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies, but it has been independently identified as one of the best M&E guides As the IFRC support over 190 different Red Cross and Red Crescent national societies, varying is size and scope, the guide was written to be flexible and adaptable to different contexts. The guide includes an assortment of practical tools, checklist, a glossary, and links to other resources. In addition to English, (and related guides) from the IFRC is available in Spanish, French, and Russian.
- American Evaluation Association Guiding Principles for Evaluators (AEA 2013). Ethical and quality standards serve as the foundation of any profession. The AEA principles (Systematic Inquiry, Competence, Integrity/Honesty, Respect for People, Responsibility for General and Public Welfare) were designed to guide the professional practice of evaluators. But there are not meant only for evaluation professionals, but also to inform evaluation clients and the general public about the key standards to expect to be upheld by professional evaluators.
- Ten Steps to a Results-Based Monitoring and Evaluation System (Jody Kusek & Ray Rist, 2004). Published by the World Bank, this handbook provides, “a comprehensive ten-step model that will help guide development practitioners through the process of designing and building a results-based monitoring and evaluation system.” Although more targeted towards national, government agencies than smaller civil society organizations, this guide has become a “go to” for RBM nuts and bolts. (If you are looking for a more basic overview on the RBM that does not go into such prescriptive detail, check out the UNDG’s Results-based Management Handbook, 2011).
- Making Monitoring and Evaluation Systems Work: A Capacity Development Toolkit (Marelize Goergens & Jody Kusek, 2009). Published by the World Bank, this 493 page resource book is a gem. It is chockful of conceptual background information and practical advice that can be tailored to different organizational contexts, whether a government agency, NGO, or foundation. It comes with an assortment of examples, templates, checklists, diagrams and more to make content assessable and applied.
- A Step by Step Guide to Monitoring and Evaluation (Oxford University School of Geography and the Environment, 2014). This guide provides a coherent overview of M&E in the context of energy, sustainable development, or the environment. In addition to the key principles of M&E, it includes selected links to resources and approaches that may be useful for your group. It includes a variety of forms and templates for an M&E framework, as well as checklists and other resources pitched for both beginners as well as the more experienced.
- Good Enough Guide: Impact Measurement and Accountability in Emergencies (Emergency Capacity Building Project, 2007). This 42 page guide is truly pocket-size in print, and I assess it has become a “classic” in the humanitarian aid industry because it is clear, concise and practical. The handbook drills down to the essentials on a range of topics, from conducting individual interviews and focus groups to using indicators or surveys. It can be found on a variety on online outlets not only because it was collaboratively published by 7 international NGOs, but because of its popularity.
- A Guide to Assessing Needs: Essential Tools for Collecting Information, Making Decisions, and Achieving Development Results (Ryan Watkins, Maurya West Meiers, and Yursa Laila Visser, 2012). Published by the World Bank, this 300 page guide is useful not only for assessing and analyzing needs, but a range of other uses where data collection and analysis is required. For instance, I have used techniques out of this book to inform assignments ranging from program design to organizational strategic planning. It outlines key steps, tools and techniques in a clear, practical manner.
- Responsible Data Management Training Pack (Oxfam, 2017). With digital data changing the way we collect, manage and use data in M&E, this is a timely and resource from Oxfam. Responsible data management (RDM) focuses on treating respondents with respect and dignity, and ensuring to always act in their best interests. This training pack introduces the key RDM principles, how they can be planned for, and trouble-shooting unexpected issues that arise in different contexts.
- Adaptive Management: What it Means for CSOs (Bond, 2016). As the development industry increasing recognizes the inherent complexity and uncertainty that aid is delivered, it is encouraging to see more attention on flexible, exploratory approaches to the planning and M&E for real-time analysis and course-correction. This publication provides a good primer to the topic, with a useful list of hyperlinked resources in its Bibliography to take a deeper dive.
- M&E Training and Capacity Building Modules (Catholic Relief Services & American Red Cross, 2008). Again, I acknowledge my bias as I authored the module on M&E Planning in this series, but this is truly a practical set of M&E guidelines informed by field needs. Funded by an Institutional Capacity Building grant from USAID, the series consists eight guidelines: Capacity-Building Guidance, Monitoring and Evaluation Planning, Indicator Performance Tracking Tables, Hiring M&E Staff, Preparing for an Evaluation, Managing and Implementing an Evaluation, Communicating and Reporting on an Evaluation, Effective Report Writing, Success and Learning Stories. Watch my 20 minute webinar on M&E Planning for the American Evaluation Association, based on the above publication I authored.
Monitoring & Evaluation Planning for Projects/Programs
Scott Chaplowe from American Evaluation Association on Vimeo.
Collaborative Websites for M&E
There are a host of valuable websites for M&E practice and learning from collaborative initiatives, offering a variety of resources, such as virtual libraries, toolkits, blogs, email lists, communities of practice, and e-learning opportunities, such as webinars and webcasts.
- ALNAP. The Active Learning Network for Accountability and performance in Humanitarian Action offers a variety of resources supporting evaluation in humanitarian contexts, such as its Evaluation of Humanitarian Action guide in three languages, and its e-learning course, Introduction to Evaluating Humanitarian Action.
- Better Evaluation. Outstanding resource funded an international collaboration to improve evaluation practice and theory by sharing and generating information about options (methods or processes) and approaches. It is chockfull of information and resources and links for M&E. For instance, download the Rainbow Framework to plan an evaluation through a series of questions, and the Equal Access Participatory Monitoring and Evaluation Toolkit.
- Bond. This UK network for organisations working in international development supports a diverse network of over 450 civil society organisations and allies to help eradicate global poverty, inequality and injustice. Check out its resource page on MEL.
- CLEAR. This website for Regional Centers for Learning on Evaluation and Results is part of the CLEAR global team’s effort to improve policy through strengthening monitoring and evaluation (M&E) systems and capacities. The Knowledge Hub has publications, events, videos, and resources for capacity development, specific to regions of the world, e.g. Africa, Latin America, and South Asia.
- EvalPartners. A global partnership that seeks to enhance the capacities of civil society organizations (CSOs) to effectively engage in evaluation, with a specific focus on strengthening the institutional capacity of Voluntary Organizations of Professional Evaluators (VOPEs). Check out their Virtual Library of resources, and I especially recommend the recently developed EvalPartners’ Toolkit to develop advocacy strategies to strengthen an enabling environment for evaluation.
- InterAction. Based in Washington D.C., this is an alliance of over 190 NGO and partner throughout the world, with a website that offers useful M&E resources, such as a link to Training that includes a four-part series developed with the Rockefeller Foundation with guidance notes on impact evaluation, each accompanied by two webinars related to the notes’ contents.
- MEASURE Evaluation. A collaboration between USAID and university and private partners, this online resources provides a host of materials for M&E learning, including trainer resources, online courses, a webinar series, publications, tools, and much more. Check out the publication, M&E Fundamentals: A Self-guided Minicourse.
- Monitoring and Evaluation News. Managed by Rick Davies and launched in 1997, this website hosts a ranges of useful resources for M&E learning, sharing and networking. For instance, an online bulletin board of M&E trainings, and an M&E Jobs Forum.
- The Evaluation Toolbox. An online resource from Swinburne University of Technology and Australian public partners, it focuses on community sustainability engagement, with an assortment of resources for community projects, including guidelines, tools, templates, and case studies.
Listservs for M&E
In addition to announcements of short-term consultancies or full-time positions related to M&E, listservs are a valuable source for knowledge and resource sharing. Following are some of my favorites, but additional listservs can be found with some of the organizations and VOPES listed elsewhere on this page, and one can carouse Facebook and LinkedIn for M&E-related groups as well. Also, check out MandE’s List of M&E Email Lists and a Jobs Forum.
- Monitoring and Evaluation NEWS: Also identified above as a collaborative website for M&E, the listserve from MandE is one of the first for M&E, and as of 6/2018 has over 5900 members worldwide, and an archive of over 5000 posts and related documents.
- XCeval. Initially set up for the International and Cross-Cultural Topical Interest Group of the American Evaluation Association, this listserv is for people interested in issues associated with international and cross-cultural evaluation.
- Pelican Initiative. This highly active listserv is for evidence-based learning and communication for social change. It brings together professionals of different development-related backgrounds to enable them to share experiences and trigger discussions to address a key question: “How can we learn more from what we do while at the same time having the biggest possible impact on the social change processes in which we engage?”
- LinkedIn M&E-Related Groups. There are a variety of groups (communities of practice) that one can sign up with after registering with LinkedIn; for example, consider Monitoring and Evaluation Professionals, and Research, Monitoring and Evaluation, and Monitoring and Evaluation – Development, Discussion and Training.
Voluntary Organizations for Professional Evaluation (VOPEs) for M&E
VOPE is an acronym for evaluation associations, societies and similar professional bodies. There is an array of valuable online resources for M&E practice and learning that can be accessed from the websites of evaluation associations and societies (Voluntary Organizations for Professional Evaluation, VOPEs). Far from exhaustive, below are some examples of VOPE websites, and IOCE (below) has a Member webpage with a more full listing.
[On a related note, EvalPartners (identified above) has a Voluntary Organization of Professional Evaluators (VOPE) Institutional Capacity Toolkit, which includes a collection of curated descriptions, tools, advice, examples, software and toolboxes developed by VOPEs and other organizations working to support non-profit organizations.]
- African Evaluation Association (AfrEA). AfrEA is a good example of a regional VOPE, with a strong focus on advocacy, information sharing and advanced capacity building in evaluation. Among other resources, there are links to online courses and a weekly newsletter, and the website is accessible in both English and French.
- American Evaluation Association (AEA). A strong example of a country-level VOPE that offers a range of resources for M&E learning, including, Coffee Break Webinars, eStudy webinars, and AEA365 (providing a free daily blog on tips, resources and lessons for evaluators).
- European Evaluation Society (EES). With the mission to stimulate, guide and promote the theory, practice and utilization of evaluation in Europe and beyond, this VOPE offers a range of resources, with a strong international focus stressing ethically sound, culturally sensitive and action oriented evaluation practices.
- International Development Evaluation Association (IDEAS). This independent association has a worldwide membership of both individuals and organizations, supporting knowledge sharing and networking for development evaluation, particularly in developing and transition countries. Its website includes various resources for M&E capacity development and related topics, including case studies, articles, reports, tools, indicators, book reviews, as well as links to additional resources and evaluation associations.
- International Organization for Cooperation in Evaluation (IOCE). This is a good place to start to get a sense of the abundance of VOPES today. It is an international partnership of VOPEs to provide leadership in evaluation worldwide by supporting organizational capacity for VOPES. Check out the Members webpage for a listing by international, national, and regional VOPEs, which can lead you to their specific websites.
University Websites for M&E
In addition to being a valuable resource for M&E formal education, (e.g., see the AEA University Programs webpage), universities offer many free resources and opportunities for M&E learning and practice. The short list of recommended websites below is only illustrative.
- Western Michigan University’s Evaluation Center. This valuable website includes a range of resources, including an Evaluation Café with free webinars recorded for viewing (webcasts), and its well-received Evaluation Checklists on over twenty-five topics related to M&E.
- Oregon State University’s Program Evaluation Capacity Building Webinar Series. In addition to freely viewable webinars on program ECB, this online resource from OSU includes accompanying PowerPoint slides.
Wageningen University & Research – Monitoring and Evaluation. This website has a range of resources related to integrated approaches to planning, monitoring and evaluation, ranging from data collection and analysis to communicating and reporting M&E findings.
- Claremont Evaluation Center. In addition to publications and a free online training in International Development Evaluation, this website also offers a well-received webinar series on the discipline and profession of evaluation.
Organizations’ Websites for M&E
Many civic and public organizations have a wealth of information for M&E practice and learning. The list below is far from exhaustive, illustrating only a handful of examples. Let me underscore that there are a range of additional fine resources available. For example, check out Save the Children’s Evaluation Handbook, CARE’s Emergency Toolkit, Mercy Corps’ Design, Monitoring and Evaluation Guidebook, and World Visions’ resources for Learning through Evaluation with Accountability & Planning – LEAP Tools.
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The CDC Program Performance and Evaluation Office is another example of a government agency (US) chockful of resources to support M&E learning and practice. Many of these are focused on various health areas, such as Adolescent and School Health, and others are more general, such as their Introduction to Program Evaluation for Public Health Programs: A Self-Study Guide.
- Corporation for National and Community Service. This US federal program, with the mission to strengthen communities and improve lives through civil engagement, has a webpage devoted to Evaluation Resources, as well as online courses, such as its Performance Measurement module series.
- Evaluation Capacity Development Group. ECDG is a nonprofit organization created in 2004 with a mission “to bring together diverse perspectives dedicated to developing evaluation capacity within organizations through tools, resources, and communication that facilitate others meeting their mission.” Its website hosts provides access to their Guide to Evaluation Capacity Development, as well as case studies, models, and other guides and tools.
- International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies. I worked for the IFRC for over 8 years, leading the development on a number of its M&E and capacity building resources. As a Federation for 190 national societies, IFRC resources are designed for a wide range of stakeholders in cross-cultural settings, and freely available on its public website in four major languages. Notable are it Monitoring and Evaluation Guide; Project/Programme Planning Guidance Manual, PMER (Planning, Monitoring, Evaluation, Reporting) Pocket Guide, and the Baseline Basics In addition to these publications, the IFRC Learning Platform has a host of online learning resources available in multiple languages, including the well-received Introduction to Monitoring and Evaluation self-guided e-learning course, as well as the Project/Programme Planning e-learning course.
- Online Evaluation Resource Library (OERL). Developed by the National Science Foundation (NSF) for professionals seeking to design, conduct, document, or review project evaluations. It includes professional development modules that can be used to better understand and utilize the materials made available.
- Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development. The OECD has various resources for M&E capacity development, including those devoted the Evaluation of Development Programs, Developing Evaluation Capacities, and the DAC Evaluation Resource Center, which hosts a comprehensive list of evaluation guidelines, including the widely used, tri-lingual Glossary of Key Terms in Evaluation and Results-Based Management.
- Overseas Development Institute. ODI is an independent, global think tank, working for a sustainable and peaceful world in which every person thrives. Its webpage on monitoring, evaluation and learning has an assortment of resources that can be search by type, theme, country and program area.
- The Global Fund. An international partnership between governments, civil society, the private sector and people affected by the diseases, the Global Fund has a robust system for M&E, including their webpage for Strengthening Monitoring and Evaluation, as well as their offerings from iLearn Online Learning.
- The World Bank’s DEMI WIKI. The Development Impact Evaluation Wiki is a public good to increase the quality of development research, targeting researchers and M&E specialists. It focuses on providing practical implementation guidelines rather than theory, is easily searchable, suitable for users of varying levels of expertise, and is up-to-date with the latest technological advances in electronic data collection.
- United Nations. The various agencies at the UN offer a variety of M&E-related resources for learning, typically targeted at the regional, national and global levels. A good place to start is the United Nations Evaluation Group (UNEG). The UNICEF Evaluation and Good Practices website is another example of a UN agency with a wealth of resources – check out their interactive M&E Training Modules. The Independent Evaluation Group has a webpage devoted to Evaluation Capacity Development, and the World Bank has a useful webpage devoted to Evaluation Resources. The UNDP Evaluation website offers with links to publications, guidance, an Evaluation Resource Center and more; check out the well-received Handbook on Planning, Monitoring and Evaluating for Development Results (available in 6 languages).
- USAID’s Learning Lab. Provided by the United States Agency for International Development, this online resource has links to M&E resources, such as a Learning Library and its Learning Guide with links to a Performance Management Plan Toolkit, Data Quality Assessment Checklist, and the USAID Evaluation Toolkit.
Independent Websites & Blogs for M&E
There are an array of independent websites on M&E and related topics. The American Evaluation Association (AEA) has a webpage for Evaluator and Evaluation Blogs, which includes individual and organization blogs and such. Below, I have highlighted some examples of websites that I have found especially useful.
- Evaluation Portal. This website offers hand-picked, human-edited, categorized information about the topic “evaluation” from Lars Balzer.
- Global Social Change Research Project. Created by applied sociologist, Gene Shackman, this longstanding website offers a host of free resources for program evaluation and social research.
- Gsocialchange. This online library has a range of resources for evaluation and social research methods, and surveys to dealing with missing data. Check out: What is program evaluation: A beginners guide.
- NeedsAssessment.org. “Your Complete Resource Site on Needs and Needs Assessments.” This is terrific resource to online and published resources not just to asses “needs,” but other instances when information is needed to be gathered and analyzed.
- SocialCops: A private firm specializing in support data-driven decision-making. In particular, I recommend its Resources webpage offers a ranges of user-friendly, applied tips on a range of topics, from planning for data collection and visualization to how to conduct a focus group discussion.
- Social Research Methods. Hosted by former AEA President Michael Trochim, this website provides useful introductions and links to additional resources for evaluation and research.