Evaluating what influences use of data for decision-making

Evaluation and understanding political economy of decision-making

Evaluation of the LINK project has several components:

  • assessing Value for Money (VfM)
  • testing the Theory of Change (ToC)
  • exploring the Political Economy of Decision Making (PEoDM) and assessing the ways in which data were used.

Assessing Value for Money

Analysis of VfM includes assessments of economy and efficiency of the project, together with the effectiveness, equity, and cost effectiveness of the national malaria control programmes with which LINK works. Testing the ToC will be done through using project, programme and empirical data to validate that the inputs included lead to the outputs, and the outputs lead to the stated outcomes. Qualitative interviews will further interrogate the pathways from inputs to outputs, and more specifically by which outputs lead to the expected outcomes. Contribution analysis will be used to focus on the role of LINK within the overall context of data availability and use. The ways in which data are used will be expanded beyond only direct use within policy to wider forms of use, based on a research impact framework.

Testing the Theory of Change

Two ToC models guide the monitoring and evaluation work that LINK performs. Our primary M&E activities are to measure progress towards improving evidence-informed decision making at the local, national and regional levels where LINK works. We do this by assessing our activities and tracking the progress towards the following desired outcomes:

  • increase availability and access to data/evidence
  • use of programme findings by National Malaria Programme
  • improved prioritisation of operational research needs
  • increased political and donor support for evidence informed programming.

We also share a ToC with the WHO African Regional Office (AFRO) malaria programme. In this effort we work to support AFRO in the larger DFID project by assessing progress for three primary outputs:

  • strengthening systems for generating quality assured strategic information for malaria control
  • strengthening capacity for compiling and managing quality-assured malaria data
  • strengthening regional and country capacities for malaria knowledge translation.

Exploring political economy of decision-making

As part of the evaluation we will be exploring additional factors that influence whether data and information is used in decision-making processes.This work will involve qualitative data collection in the form of in-depth interviews similar to those we will use for the evaluation processes. We will also identify decision-making processes through in-depth engagement with National Malaria Programmes and more broadly with ministry of health heads of departments in a subset of countries.