At the core of our work, impact evaluations are rigorous studies that measure the effects of international development programmes. We focus on conducting impact evaluations on policy-relevant research questions where credible findings can drive decision-making.
3ie invented evidence gap maps, which provide a visual overview of existing and ongoing studies or reviews in a sector or sub-sector of international development. These maps help policymakers find the most relevant evidence for a given question, thereby improving decision-making.
Our synthesis products, including systematic reviews, integrate findings from multiple different studies which address a common research question. Because they look systematically across the evidence base to see what works and why, systematic reviews and other synthesis products are more reliable for decision-making than results from a single study used in an ad hoc way.
Often, policy decisions must be made quickly. To make sure that decision-makers get the evidence they need when they need it, 3ie has developed a set of helpdesk services and rapid evidence products. Our Rapid Response Briefs and Rapid Evidence Assessments draw from the latest high-quality research to answer policy questions in a fraction of the time of traditional evaluations or systematic reviews.
We work with governments and other organizations to build their capacities in evaluation and evidence-informed decision-making. In addition to providing trainings on a wide range of evaluation methods, we offer ongoing support services to ensure our partners have access to the most up-to-date evidence and evaluation tools.
3ie specialises in increasing access to, demand for and use of evidence by governments, parliaments, programme managers, civil society, programme participants and the media. We do this by emphasising the value of planning and engaging with stakeholders to ensure that evaluations and reviews are relevant and useful. We use robust and effective monitoring to measure evidence use so that we can convey evidence impact on programmes and policies with greater confidence.
Since 3ie was founded, transparency, reproducibility, and ethics (TRE) have been core considerations in our work. We have developed and refined tools and best practices to ensure our studies apply technically rigorous methodologies, transparently share design and analysis decisions, yield computationally reproducible analysis, and incorporate foundational principles of research ethics into design, implementation, and dissemination. 3ie’s Transparency, Reproducibility, and Ethics (TRE) Policy articulates this commitment to TRE best practices.
3ie’s Development Evidence Portal is the largest-of-its-kind repository of rigorous evidence on what works in international development. This portal includes evaluations and synthesis of studies conducted in low-and middle-income countries. It combines records from 3ie’s Impact Evaluation and Systematic Review repositories, as well as, evidence gap maps.
These provide a visual display of completed and ongoing systematic reviews and impact evaluations in a sector or sub-sector, structured around a framework of interventions and outcomes.
Evidence impact summaries briefly describe how 3ie-supported evidence has informed and influenced decision makers. Each summary highlights verified instances of evidence impact.
We provide funding for replications, conduct in-house replication research and publish guidance on replication methodology. We also provide funding to original authors of 3ie-funded for preparing their raw datasets.
As part of our mandate as a knowledge producer and translator for our main audiences, we publish a range of knowledge products. These include briefs, impact evaluation reports, systematic review reports and summaries, replication papers, evidence gap map reports, scoping reports and working papers.
3ie’s Registry for International Development Impact Evaluations (RIDIE) aims to enhance the transparency and quality of impact evaluation research before it begins.
3ie’s evidence programmes support studies to fill critical knowledge gaps in a sector, sub-sector or in an area with limited rigorous evidence. We fund studies under a specific theme or which address a particular question or set of questions in programme areas where our donors want to expand global public knowledge of what works and what does not.
To help address gaps in the understanding of what works and what does not, we fund a variety of studies across this programme area, including interventions focused on insurance, extension, land-use and forestry, and innovation and technology.
3ie supports impact evaluations, systematic reviews and evidence gap maps on education effectiveness that help answer the questions of what works, for whom, why and at what cost.
We fund the production of rigorous evidence on biodiversity and forest conservation programmes, environmental regulations, impact of sustainable fuels, climate change mitigation and adaptation.
3ie is supporting the generation of evidence in areas such as transparency and accountability in natural resource governance. We also fund the production of rigorous evidence on interventions to curb corruption, judicial and civil service reforms, land reforms, public financial management, conflict prevention and peacebuilding, decentralised governance and public service delivery.
We fund the production of rigorous evidence on interventions on HIV and AIDS, immunisation maternal and child health, nutrition and sexual and reproductive health through a number of evidence programmes. Evidence products from these programmes include replication studies, evidence gap maps, systematic reviews and impact evaluations.
We are supporting the generation of rigorous evidence in humanitarian contexts on interventions related to water, sanitation and hygiene, food security, multi-sectoral humanitarian programming and interventions targeting malnutrition.
We fund the production of rigorous evidence on the socio-economic and environmental impacts of public transportation by rail, bus and rapid transit systems, and essential services such as electricity and gas to expand access, foster inclusive growth, and combat climate change through sustainable systems.
3ie, in collaboration with India’s rural development ministry is working to generate rigorous evidence on the impact of the National Rural Livelihoods Mission.
We support policy-relevant studies that contribute to improving our understanding of public expenditure trends and improving the delivery of public goods.
We support impact evaluations to build the evidence base on the effectiveness of interventions that reduce the risks faced by the poor through participation in public works and employment programmes.
3ie’s has two major evidence programmes that support the generation and use of high-quality evidence for informing decision-making in the water, sanitation and hygiene sector
In alignment with our mission, 3ie promotes rigorous, efficient, and ethical use of innovative data sources for impact evaluations, including in those conducted by 3ie, by 3ie research partners, and in the global development community more broadly.
We set up our Replication Programme to address the need for a freely available global public good that helps improve the quality and reliability of impact evaluation evidence used for development decision-making. Replication is the most established method of research validation in science, yet it has not been fully embraced by the research community or development donors, leading to this gap.
3ie produces research – whether in-house or through grants or contracts – that clearly and precisely documents the data and methods used in the analysis and the materials used to conduct the study. We have experienced and highly skilled staff ready to support the transparent production of evaluations, systematic reviews, and other knowledge products. .
Fragility has expensive, long-term consequences and trying to build peace in situations of protracted conflicts is becoming the norm. In 2016, 1.8 billion people – nearly a quarter of the world's population – were living in situations of fragility. Social cohesion is widely considered important in building sustainable peace in fragile contexts.
We work with various departments in the Philippines government to develop and fund rigorous evidence useful for policymakers. We also support capacity-building activities for Philippine researchers and support the impact evaluation management framework of the National Economic and Development Authority.
Working in collaboration with the Office of the Prime Minister, the primary aim is to improve developmental outcomes through evidence-informed decision making in Uganda. 3ie is currently supporting evaluation of government programmes around youth livelihood, family planning, public service delivery and local governance, and universal primary education.
3ie and the government of Benin are working on a a multi-year regional initiative that aims to promote the institutionalization of evaluation in government systems across eight countries in West Africa, including: Benin, Burkina Faso, Côte d’Ivoire, Guinea-Bissau, Mali, Niger, Senegal and Togo.
This is a five-year programme (2019-23) that is working on increasing the use of evidence by policymakers in Ghana, Pakistan and Uganda. In partnership with country governments, this programme aims to develop capacity and promote innovation in increasing evidence-informed decision-making. SEDI is funded by the UK Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office.
Speaker: Annette Brown, Former Deputy Director –Advancement and Impact Evaluation Services, 3ie Year: 2015
In this video, Annette Brown explains how you can create a valid counterfactual using randomised controlled trials and rigorously evaluate programmes. She illustrates how random assignment works in practice.
Speaker: Jyotsna Puri, Former Deputy Executive Director and Head of Evaluation, 3ie Year: 2015
The random assignment of a development programme is not always possible. Jo Puri gives the run down on how quasi-experimental methods can be used to get around the challenge of creating a valid counterfactual.
Speaker: Howard White, Former Executive Director, 3ie Year: 2015
Although it may be considered a challenge, infrastructure projects can lend themselves to impact evaluation methods. In this video, Howard White takes you through the different evaluation designs that can be used for assessing the impact of infrastructure programmes.
Speaker: Jyotsna Puri, Former Deputy Executive Director and Head of Evaluation, 3ie
Impact evaluations of humanitarian relief programmes are considered particularly challenging because they need to be done quickly and it may be difficult to have a valid counterfactual. Jo Puri uses case studies to show how data and methods can be innovatively used for getting around these challenges and conducting high quality impact evaluations.
Speaker: Shagun Sabarwal, Former Evaluation Specialist, 3ie
Impact evaluations have been used to assess the impact of health programmes on a host of outcomes. In this video, Shagun Sabarwal explains how a mixed-method impact evaluation was used to assess the effectiveness of a programme in Malawi and generate highly policy relevant evidence.
Speaker: Annette Brown, Former Deputy Director –Advancement and Impact Evaluation Services, 3ie
Impact evaluations can be used to answer important development questions related to democracy and governance programmes. Annette Brown illustrates how by providing new examples of different impact evaluation methods in practice.
Speaker: Markus Olapade, Former Evaluation Specialist, 3ie
Agricultural productivity in Africa is low although there are several technologies now available for increasing yields. Markus Olapade demonstrates how an impact evaluation that combines propensity score matching and difference in difference estimation was used to assess the impact of farmer field schools in East Africa.
Speaker: Jyotsna Puri, Former Deputy Executive Director and Head of Evaluation, 3ie
Although the world loses US$3-5 trillion of natural capital every year, there is not a lot of robust evidence on what works in conserving the environment and addressing climate change. In this video, Jo Puri shows how impact evaluations of payment for ecosystem services programme and protected area programmes can answer important development questions.
Speaker: Radhika Menon, Senior Policy, Advocacy and Communication Officer
Many education programmes have helped in increasing the enrolment and attendance of children in schools but there is less evidence on what works in improving learning. In this video, Radhika Menon uses an example from India to show how an impact evaluation can provide rigorous evidence on what works in improving child learning.
Speaker: Heather Lanthorn, Former Evaluation Specialist, 3ie
Conditional cash transfers are one of the most studied programmes in development economics but there is still a lot we need to learn about whether and how they work. In this video, Heather Lanthorn illustrates how an evaluation using regression discontinuity design assesses the impact of a conditional cash transfer programme on educational outcomes in Cambodia.
Impact evaluations can provide practitioners with useful guidance on what an intervention can realistically accomplish. Stuti Tripathi shows how impact evaluations have helped the microfinance sector introspect on where microcredit was falling short in fulfilling its mandate and contributed to innovation in programme design.
Hugh Waddington explains why meta-analysis is one of the most appropriate methods for decision makers to use in policymaking. Meta-analysis is a quantitative statistical analysis of several separate but similar experiments or studies in order to test the pooled data for statistical significance. Using examples from 3ie studies on micro-credit and land reform programmes, Hugh explains how meta-analysis can help investigate a wide variety of questions, as long as there is a reasonable body of primary research studies.