glocals events

Contribution analysis and context sensitivity – methodological potential and practical challenges

Organized by | DEval ,German institute for development evaluation (DEval)

Single Session
| Online
| English
About the Event
In practice, an intervention is rarely the sole cause of an observed effect. At the same time, we as evaluators want to know what the precise effect of an intervention is. So how can we measure which changes are caused solely by the intervention? And how can we account for a complex set of other potential influencing factors?
While contribution analysis is rarely used in evaluations so far, the method has potential, particularly for questions on effectiveness and impact in complex evaluations. As a theory-based evaluation method, contribution analysis is particularly well suited to identify and evaluate the contribution of an intervention to an (overarching) outcome taking into account various other influencing factors. Likewise, as a context-sensitive method, contribution analysis can help to answer the question of how and under which specific circumstances certain effects were (not) achieved.
In line with the conference topic, the aim of this session is twofold: First, to reflect on the potential and pitfalls of contribution analysis as a context-specific method, which allows for capturing case-specific factors (such as country-level drivers of change). Second, to present and discuss experiences with contribution analysis as a collaborative method. Whereas a collaborative effort with diverse stakeholders may result in capturing the complexity of an intervention more accurately and lead to an increased acceptance, there are risks to such an approach. Throughout, we draw on the evaluation "The promotion of sustainable supply chains through German development cooperation based on the example of the textile sector" of the German Institute for Development Evaluation (DEval), which used contribution analyses to answer questions on effectiveness in the complex context of sustainable supply chains. In the evaluation, we conducted case studies in Bangladesh and Germany to examine German development cooperation’s contribution to reducing human rights violations and environmental damage in Bangladesh, and to companies fulfilling their corporate due diligence obligations in Germany. Overall, the session provides participants the opportunity to jointly discuss the potential and challenges of contribution analyses.


Kathrin Wolf | Dr.
Dr Kathrin Wolf started working as an evaluator at DEval in October 2020 and currently leads the research and advisory project on rigorous impact evaluation in German Development Cooperation. As PhD candidate in the field of economic psychology at Leuphana University of Lüneburg, her research sought to shed light on women entrepreneurship in sub-Saharan Africa and its effective promotion through training. In the context of her doctoral work, she has collaborated with the World Bank’s Africa Gender Innovation Lab and run experimental and quasi-experimental impact studies in Ethiopia. Prior to joining DEval, she has worked for the German Commission for UNESCO and - as an independent consultant - for major donor agencies, such as the World Bank and the GIZ. As part of her consulting services, she has developed evaluation designs and monitoring tools. From August 2017 to April 2020, she has lived and worked in Madagascar.

Topics and themes

  • M&E Approaches and Methods
  • The Future of M&E: Culture, Context, and Collaboration

When and Where?

  • May 31, 2023 Duration: 1h 00m
  • Germany
    Europe and Central Asia