In the case studies so far, elements of three well established approaches have been combined, to elucidate the extent to which research and other factors play a role in pro-poor policy impact.
Episode studies of specific policy changes – tracking back from policy changes to identify key actors and decisions and assessing the relative importance of different factors, which might have included research-based evidence. This is the approach used by ODI, and their experience suggests that the approach tends to emphasise political factors and underemphasise the role of research. More information is available from ODI.
Case study analysis of specific research projects – tracking forwards from specific research and related activities implemented by specific projects to assess the impact they had. This approach has been used by IFPRI. Compared with the episode study approach, this approach tends to overemphasise the importance of research. More information is available from IFPRI.
Outcome mapping – identifying changes in behaviour and analysing what was done or happened to bring them about. The Outcome Mapping approach was developed by IDRC, mainly as a planning and monitoring tool which emphasised outcomes in terms of behaviour changes of actors within a project's sphere of influence. However the priciples can be applied for retrospective analysis of behaviour changes. More information on Outcome Mapping is available from IDRC, including a short brochure.
These elements have been combined into an approach called the RAPID (Research and Policy in Development) Outcome Assessment, or ROA. A methodology brief outlining how the ROA has been developed and has been applied in these case studies is available here.