21 November 2023

The final session of CREST’s M&E Learning Collective for the year placed the spotlight on methodological considerations in Monitoring and Evaluation. Facilitated by Prof Caitlin Blaser Mapitsa, a seasoned evaluator and academic from the University of the Witwatersrand’s School of Governance, the lively discussion engaged 38 online participants. The Learning Collective, an initiative of CREST’s M&E unit, is designed to foster a culture of continuous learning for both emerging and seasoned evaluators in Africa, including CREST’s alumni, staff, and students.

The session, held on 10 November  2023, explored the topic of Navigating Methodology in M&E: Sharing Experiences and Practices. Prior to the event, participants received a list of readings, featuring two research articles focusing on methodology in evaluation within an African context, along with four relevant blog posts.

During the discussion, Prof Mapitsa provided insightful perspectives, emphasizing the often-overlooked significance of methodology in evaluations, and characterizing it as the “magic of a good evaluation.” She stressed the need to view methodology beyond mere lists of activities and tools, highlighting its role as the “glue” connecting evaluation, approaches, activities, and tools.

The conversation explored various aspects of methodology, including definitions of different methods and approaches, distinctions between methodology in traditional research and in evaluation, contextual constraints such as resources and time, and the management of stakeholders’ methodological expectations and assumptions. Participants gained valuable insights into the diverse approaches applicable in evaluation inquiries, emphasizing the importance of awareness.

The event signaled the conclusion of this year’s Learning Collective sessions, and participants are eagerly anticipating more fruitful discussions in the coming year.

Access the Learning Collective Brief here.