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Technical Briefs


Overview of Impact Evaluation


Impact evaluations are essential assessments that reveal the effects resulting from an intervention, encompassing programs, policies, and upstream initiatives like capacity building and policy advocacy. They extend their scope beyond initial goals and objectives to delve into both intended and unintended consequences. Impacts encompass the comprehensive spectrum of positive and negative, direct and indirect, primary and secondary, and long-term effects generated by development interventions, shedding light on the multifaceted results of these endeavors. 

This brief provides an overview of the different elements of impact evaluation and the different options for UNICEF programme managers for each of these elements, in terms of stages involved in planning and managing an impact evaluation. These stages are as follows, although these can sometimes vary in order or may be revisited:

  • deciding to conduct an impact evaluation 
  • establishing governance and management arrangements 
  • preparing for the impact evaluation 
  • developing a Terms of Reference (ToR) for the evaluation 
  • engaging the evaluation team 
  • overseeing the evaluation, including the production of evaluation reports 
  • following up the evaluation. 

Guidance is also provided on addressing ethical issues and ensuring quality during an impact evaluation. This brief is an introduction to a UNICEF series of methodological briefs, which provides more detailed guidance on the core building blocks of impact evaluation (theory of change, evaluative criteria and evaluative reasoning), different evaluation designs and methods for data collection and analysis, and options in terms of participatory approaches.

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Best Suited For:

Communications Team, Executive Leadership, Monitoring & Evaluation Team, Programs Team



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