printUse ctrl + p to print the page

Barbara van Mierlo: The need for reflexive evaluation approaches in development

Title: The need for reflexive evaluation approaches in development

Authors: Marlèn Arkesteijn, Barbara van Mierlo and Cees Leeuwis Knowledge, Technology, and Innovation, Wageningen University, The Netherlands

Presenter: Barbara van Mierlo, Associate Professor

Relevance of the paper for the conference theme ‘M&E for Responsible Innovation’

Reflexive evaluation is almost by definition a way to take responsibility in M&E for systemic change. The example to be described is Reflexive Monitoring in Action.


Within development cooperation, development issues are increasingly recognized as complex problems requiring new paths towards solving them. In addition to the commonly used two dimensions of complex problems (uncertainty and disagreement), we introduce a third dimension: systemic stability; that is, stability provided by rules, relations and complementary technology. This article reflects on how development evaluation methodologies and especially those introducing a complexity perspective address these three dimensions. Inferring that this third dimension deserves more attention, we explore the characteristics of reflexive evaluation approaches that challenge systemic stability and support processes of learning and institutional change. We conclude that reflexive evaluation approaches may well complement current system approaches in development evaluation practice and enhance taking responsibility.

For the full article "The need for reflexive evaluation approaches in development cooperation", see: