An impressive gathering of nearly 40 distinguished scholars, professors and researchers from the U.S., Australia, Hong Kong, Singapore and Korea, came together for a conference at the Plaza Hotel in Seoul on November 22 and 23 to share their diverse perspectives and informative experiences from the field of Impact Evaluation.
The KDI School, in partnership with the International Initiative for Impact Evaluation (3ie), holds such periodical gatherings to bring together brilliant research minds from around the world to lean on and glean from each other, sharpening each others’ ideas like iron sharpens iron.
The invitation-only event was graced by the Dean of KDIS, Jong-Il You, Emmanuel Jimenez, Executive Director of 3ie, and Prashant Bharadwaj, Associate Professor at the University of California, San Diego.
Impact Evaluation is an invaluable field of research which analyzes the effects of a program or policy implemented in a given area or situation. It generates extremely vital information, necessary for informing policy-making decisions.
Though it fills in the gaps of much-needed evidence for assessing the effects of policy decisions that have been taken, Impact Evaluation can face different bottlenecks as, for instance, research findings hardly being used by policy makers to make informed decisions. Randomized Control Trials, the ideal research method, take too long with a minimum of four years to complete. The shortest experiment may take six months, still much longer than the timeframe policy-makers have to make decisions.
Secondly, though there is more Impact Evaluation in the world today than ever before, there is still large and uneven thematic and geographic coverage. More diversity is needed in the research topics covered and more uncharted territory needs to be traversed. Thirdly, the time and cost implications of running a project often hamper research. Big data and good combinations of research methods could do well in cutting down the time and costs required by large projects.
Research topics on Agriculture, Fisheries, Demography, Networks, Human Development, Health and Rural Development, were presented and discussed in depth by the researchers and professors at the conference. Poster sessions were also presented by KDI graduate students.
The conference was a deep appreciation for the work of the researchers who take pains to assess the effects of events or programs in a given place at a given time. These experiments take a very long time to reach conclusive results, whose significance is not always guaranteed. Many last six months and about seven years. Some may even go on for 50 years or more, depending on what kind of study is being conducted. The results from these studies are very vital for directing the decisions and policies created by policy-makers.
Wonhyuk Lim, Associate Dean, Office of Development Research and International Cooperation, KDIS, who organized this event, expressed his gratitude to all the participants, KDI School and 3ie for working together to make the event a resounding success. We here at KDI School hopes this partnership to bring on board more stakeholders and researchers in the further enrich and disseminate the wealth of shared knowledge in Impact Evaluation.
By Cadreen Barungi KABAHIZI (2018 MPP, Uganda)