This glossary contains the most important terms for monitoring and evaluation.

(Adjusted from (OECD) 2010, Glossary of Evaluation and Results Based Management (RBM) Terms, OECD.)

A-H | I-O | P-Z


Added value: changes that can reasonably be argued to be due to the P2P operation, rather than any other factors.

Appropriateness: the tailoring of the intervention to local needs.

Assumptions: hypotheses about factors or risks which could affect the progress or success of an intervention. Assumptions are made explicit in theory based evaluations where evaluation tracks systematically the anticipated results chain.

Attribution: the ascription of a causal link between observed changes and a specific intervention.

Beneficiaries: the individuals, groups, or organizations, whether targeted or not, that benefit directly or indirectly, from the intervention.

Case study: a methodological approach that describes a situation, individual, or the like and that typically incorporates data-gathering activities (e.g. interviews, observations, questionnaires) at selected sites or programs/projects. Case studies are characterized by purposive selection of sites or small samples; the expectation of generalizability is less than that in many other forms of research.

Coherence: the extent to which the intervention logic of a P2P is non-contradictory/the intervention logic does not contradict other interventions with similar objectives.

Counterfactual: the situation or condition which hypothetically may prevail for individuals, organizations, or groups were there no development intervention.

Data Collection Tools: methodologies used to identify information sources and collect information during an evaluation. Note: Examples are informal and formal surveys, direct and participatory observation, community interviews, focus groups, expert opinion, case studies, literature search.

Effectiveness: the extent to which the set objectives and the intended results and impacts are achieved.

Efficiency: the extent to which the desired effects are achieved at a reasonable cost (in terms of resources consumed, such as time, financial inputs, etc.).

Evaluation: the rigorous, scientifically-based collection of information about program/intervention activities, characteristics, and outcomes that determine the merit or worth of the program/intervention.

Ex-ante evaluation: an evaluation that is performed before implementation of a development intervention.

Ex-post evaluation: evaluation of a development intervention after it has been completed.

Formative evaluations: intended to improve performance, most often conducted during the implementation phase of projects or programs.


Impacts: can be defined as positive and negative, primary and secondary long-term effects produced by an intervention, directly or indirectly, intended or unintended. While outcomes rather relate to those directly addressed by an intervention, impacts rather refer to the wider environment surrounding the policy intervention.

Indicator: a quantitative or qualitative variable that provides a valid and reliable way to measure achievement, assess performance, or reflect changes connected to an intervention.

Inputs: the financial, human, and material resources used for the development intervention.

Logical framework: management tool used to improve the design of interventions. It involves identifying strategic elements (inputs, outputs, activities, outcomes, impact) and their causal relationships, indicators, and the assumptions of risks that may influence success and failure.

Mid-term evaluation: evaluation performed towards the middle of the period of implementation of the intervention.

Monitoring and evaluation plan: a multi-year implementation strategy for the collection, analysis and use of data needed for program / project management and accountability purposes. The plan describes the data needs linked to a specific program / project; the M&E activities that need to be undertaken to satisfy the data needs and the specific data collection procedures and tools; the standardised indicators that need to be collected for routine monitoring and regular reporting; the components of the M&E system that need to be implemented and the roles and responsibilities of different organisations / individuals in their implementation; how data will be used for program / project management and accountability purposes. The plan indicates resource requirement estimates and outlines a strategy for resource mobilization.

Monitoring: routine tracking and reporting of priority information about a program / project, its inputs and intended outputs, outcomes and impacts.

Network connectivity: the extent to which the members' ties to each other are resulting in efficient and effective "pathways" for shared learning and action.

Network health: a P2P's ability to engage its members, sustain their engagement, and adapt as needed. May involve issues of trust building and management effectiveness.

Objectives (global): provide a basis for assessing an intervention in relation to longer term and more diffuse effects (or global impacts). Indicators at this level are also called impact indicators.

Objectives (intermediate): provide a basis for assessing an intervention in relation to its short to medium-term effects (or intermediate impacts) on both the direct and indirect beneficiaries/recipients of assistance. Indicators at this level are called impact indicators.

Objectives (operational): provide a basis for assessing an intervention in relation to its outputs. The latter can be defined as what is directly produced / supplied through the activities and actions carried out during the implementation process. Indicators at this level are called output indicators.

Objectives (specific): provide a basis for assessing an intervention in relation to the short-term results that occur at the level of direct beneficiaries/recipients of assistance. Indicators at this level are called outcome indicators.

Outcomes: can be defined as the likely or achieved short-term and medium-term effects of an intervention's outputs.

Outputs: items directly produced by certain activities (e.g. workshop reports, Strategic Research and Innovation Agendas, databases of programmes, etc.) and are typically produced within the short-term.


Participatory evaluation: evaluation method in which representatives of agencies and stakeholders (including beneficiaries) work together in designing, carrying out and interpreting an evaluation.

Partners: the individuals and/or organizations that collaborate to achieve mutually agreed upon objectives.

Partnership: a group of organisations that collaborate to achieve mutually agreed goals, sharing responsibility for outcomes, distinct accountabilities and reciprocal obligations.

Performance indicator: a variable that allows the verification of changes in the development intervention or shows results relative to what was planned.

Summative evaluation: conducted at the end of an intervention (or a phase of that intervention) to determine the extent to which anticipated outcomes were produced.

Subsidiarity: the principle that a central authority should have a subsidiary function, performing only those tasks which cannot be performed at a more local level.

Qualitative data: data collected using qualitative methods, such as interviews, focus groups, observation, and key informant interviews. Qualitative data can provide an understanding of social situations and interaction, as well as people's values, perceptions, motivations, and reactions. Qualitative data are generally expressed in narrative form, pictures or objects (i.e., not numerically).

Quality assurance: planned and systematic processes concerned with assessing and improving the merit or worth of an intervention or its compliance with given standards.

Quantitative data: data collected using quantitative methods, such as surveys. Quantitative data are measured on a numerical scale, can be analysed using statistical methods, and can be displayed using tables, charts, histograms and graphs.

Recommendations: proposals aimed at enhancing the effectiveness, quality, or efficiency of a development intervention; at redesigning the objectives; and/or at the reallocation of resources. Recommendations should be linked to conclusions.

Relevance: the extent to which the P2P objectives are pertinent to the needs, problems and issues to be addressed.

Results: the outputs, outcomes, or impacts (intended or unintended, positive and/or negative) of an intervention.

Stakeholder: a person, group, or entity who has a direct or indirect role and interest in the goals or objectives and implementation of a program/intervention and/or its evaluation.

as an evaluation question: the continuation of benefits from a development intervention after major development assistance has been completed.
as a dimension of network health: the continuation of the network/partnership after external development and financial assistance has been completed.

Utility: the extent to which outcomes corresponded with the needs, problems and issues to be addressed.