March 25,2021


Measuring Coherence of Complex Interventions

This session focused on one of the most challenging aspects of evaluations, measuring the coherence of interventions. Coherence is both difficult to conceptualize and operationalize. The DAC Evaluation Criteria promoted by the influential Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development’s (OECD’s) Development Assistance Committee (DAC) has helped guide evaluations in the development sector as well as a range of other evaluations for three decades. The new evaluation criterion that has been added is coherence. Coherence can be defined as “how well does the intervention fit” within any given setting. Too often, evaluation studies are too focused on the impacts of specific interventions after “controlling” for context and other external factors. In our experience, coherence is rarely ever explored or measured, either at the planning or implementation stages. Programs and policies can fail because of a lack of such a fit. This webinar focused on measuring coherence, both at the programmatic and the policy levels.

The exciting slate of speakers included:

Fred Carden, the former Director of Evaluation at the International Development Research Centre (IDRC) in Canada and presently the founder of Using Evidence Inc. in Ottawa.

Lori Bell, Head of Evaluation at the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR).

Elliot Stern is Editor of the journal Evaluation and an Emeritus Professor of Evaluation Research at Lancaster University.

Vijayalakshmi Vadivelu is a Senior Evaluation Advisor at the Independent Evaluation Office of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP).


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Download Elliot Stern’s slides [1.06 MB]


For each of the webinars, we synthesized the exchange of comments from the webinar chat and summarised the learnings from the presentations.