Real-time Evaluations of Humanitarian Action
Real-time Evaluations of Humanitarian Action - An ALNAP Guide
by John Cosgrave, Ben Ramalingam and Tony Beck
Real-time evaluation (RTE) is probably one of the most demanding types of evaluation practice, requiring not only a wide range of skills from evaluators but also a tightly focused professional approach in order to meet the time demands of an RTE. However, RTEs are not about doing regular evaluation work faster. Approaches in RTEs must be different from those in regular evaluations because of the limited time available to make an evaluative judgement.
This pilot guide is intended to help both evaluation managers and team leaders in commissioning, overseeing and conducting real-time evaluations of humanitarian operational responses. Drawing on a synthesis of existing good practices, it is intended as a flexible resource that can be adapted to a variety of contexts.
This guide concentrates on RTEs undertaken in first phase of an emergency response – where the RTE fieldwork takes place within a few months of the start of the response. This is because such RTEs pose particular problems for both the evaluation manager and the evaluation team. RTEs that take place later on in the response are closer to ex-post humanitarian evaluations, but this guide also addresses how such RTEs can feed into ongoing operations.
The focus of this guide is therefore on what is distinctive about humanitarian RTEs. It does not offer advice on evaluation methodologies in general, but on specific aspects of methodology which make RTEs unique and different. Nevertheless some of the advice will apply to all evaluations and not just to RTEs. This is motivated partly by the authors’ observations of areas of weakness in existing evaluations.
Review of Joint Evaluations and the Future of Inter Agency Evaluations- OCHA/ IASC
A review of Real-time Evaluation methodology used in three Inter-Agency, Real time evaluations, commissioned by OCHA and the IASC. July 2009