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Network Paper 67: Evidence-Based Decision-Making in Humanitarian Assistance


About this resource

Resource type:Research, reports and studies
Keywords:Coordination, Logistics, Research methodology, Urban
Agency:ODI - Overseas Development Institute
Author(s):Bradt, D.A.
Date published:December 2009
Publisher:Humanitarian Practice Network


In brief
• Data limitations in humanitarian crises have
led to an increasing number of initiatives to
improve information and decision-making in
humanitarian assistance. These initiatives are,
however, beset with fundamental problems,
including the definitions of key terms,
conceptual ambiguity, a lack of
standardisation in methods of data collection
and an absence of systematic attempts to
strengthen the capacity of field organisations
to collect and analyse data.
• This paper presents an overview of evidencebased
decision-making in technical sectors of
humanitarian assistance. The goal of the paper
is to provide a common understanding of key
concepts in evidence-based decision-making
in order to stimulate a discussion of evidence
within the humanitarian community.
• The paper highlights key concepts in evidencebased
practices, examines recommendations
from recent published humanitarian reviews,
and presents options to strengthen evidencebased
decision-making in the design,
implementation and evaluation of humanitarian
• The paper concludes that evidence-based
decision-making often requires no additional
scientific data per se, but rather an understanding
of well-established technical best practices in
conjunction with financial resources and political

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