Top three nightmares every evaluator faces

As researchers, one always wants to design and conduct the best of evaluations. Researchers plan and design evaluations aiming for the best results. Yet, the path to achieving the expected results is dark and full of terrors. In the real world there are certain challenges that every researcher faces, impeding the perfect evaluation. Along with the pressures of conducting good evaluations, common challenges that need to be addressed are mainly of three types: budget, time and data. These constraints, which limit the design options and data collection methodologies available to the evaluator, have been called ‘Real World Evaluation Constraints’ (RWE) constraints. Another constraint faced is political pressure.

Constraints of time are commonly faced by evaluators when they are called in late to the project, or are given a limited timeframe to complete the project. Budget constraints include allocation of small budgets that are not adequate to complete the evaluation in the desired manner. Constraints of data are faced when there is no baseline data available, either on the project population or a control group. In some cases, the intended project impacts may also concern changes in sensitive areas such as domestic violence, community conflict, women’s empowerment, community leadership styles, or corruption – on which it is difficult to collect reliable data. Evaluators may face one or a combination of these constraints at the same time. For instance having to operate within a limited time period and also low budgets, or low budget and no access to baseline data or comparison groups.


Every researcher identifies with these issues and is bound to have come across them at some point. Do you want to know the secret formula to deal with these challenges and conduct the best research?

Register for a certified professional development workshop on the Real World Evaluation Approach, designed specifically to address the need for practical strategies on how to ensure the highest level of methodological rigor, consistent with the circumstances under which the evaluation has to be conducted.

To register, click here:


– Sonya Ochaney, Research Associate – 4th Wheel Social Impact

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