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Infusing Evaluative Thinking as Process Use: The Case of the International Development Research Centre (IDRC)
ARTICLE

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New Directions for Evaluation Volume 116, ISSN 1097-6736

Abstract

Until the recent introduction of a dynamic interview-based process, the International Development Research Centre (IDRC), a Canadian development research funding agency, faced a challenge: project completion reports (PCRs) were not being completed in a timely and quality manner. This is a common problem many organizations face in completing evaluation reports. For more than a decade, a PCR was a static document that IDRC project managers were required to prepare at the end of a research project, to capture its results and lessons. IDRC had a sophisticated evaluation and performance management system, but at the most fundamental level, many project managers were not completing the required end-of-project reports. This failure was not acceptable to anyone in the organization; they strive to ensure that evaluation is a useful process that develops the evaluation capacity of everyone engaged in it. This attitude is the foundation of the deep culture of evaluation and evaluative thinking the Evaluation Unit has built at IDRC. This article describes IDRC's struggle to make a mundane paperwork exercise--writing project completion reports--contribute to organizational learning and accountability. It describes how the center successfully transformed a bureaucratic paper system into a dynamic interviewing and learning process in just eighteen months. (Contains 3 notes.)

Citation

Carden, F. & Earl, S. (2007). Infusing Evaluative Thinking as Process Use: The Case of the International Development Research Centre (IDRC). New Directions for Evaluation, 116, 61-73. Retrieved February 17, 2020 from .

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