At the design stage you will define your evaluation questions, identify an appropriate methodology, and plan and budget for the evaluation activities. Use the following guidelines to help design and plan your impact evaluation.


Impact evaluations assess the changes in development outcomes that are caused by a particular project, program, or policy. To establish a causal relationship, impact evaluations rely on a set of experimental and quasi-experimental methods. The following links offer an overview of the main methodologies:

General references

By methodology

a. Experimental methods:

b. Quasi-experimental methods:

Difference in differences

Regression discontinuity

Instrumental Variables

Propensity score matching

Synthetic controls

By sector


Designing impact evaluations for agricultural projects (Winters et al.; IDB, 2010).

Early childhood development

Methodologies to evaluate early childhood development programs (Behrman et al.; World Bank, 2007).


Impact evaluation for school-based management reform (Gertler et al.; World Bank, 2007).

Guidelines for impact evaluation in education using experimental design (Bando, Rosangela; IDB, 2013).


Impact evaluation for slum upgrading interventions (Field and Kremer; World Bank, 2008).


Evaluating the impact of cluster development programs (Giuliani et al.; IDB,2013).

Labor markets

Building in an evaluation component for active labor market programs: a practitioner’s guide (Card et al.; IDB, 2011).

Land property

Impact evaluation for land property rights reforms (Conning and Deb; World Bank, 2007).


Impact evaluation for microfinance (Karlan and Goldberg; World Bank, 2007).


Methodologies to evaluate the impact of large scale nutrition programs (Habicht et al.; World Bank, 2009).

Regional development

Evaluating the impact of regional development programs (Winters and Sitja; IDB, 2010).

Science and technology

Evaluating the impact of science, technology and innovation programs:a methodological toolkit (Crespi et al.; IDB, 2011).


Technical guidelines for evaluating the impacts of tourism using simulation models (Taylor, Edward; IDB, 2010).


Conducting impact evaluations in urban transport (Boarnet, Marlon; World Bank, 2007).

Impact evaluation of rural roads projects (Van de Walle, Dominique; World Bank, 2008).

Water and sanitation

A guide to water and sanitation sector impact evaluations (Poulos et al.; World Bank, 2006).



Power Calculations

Gantt Charts



The credibility of the impact evaluation must be considered in the design stage of the evaluation cycle. Here we present some tools to facilitate the compliment of ethical and transparency protocols applied to the practice of the impact evaluation.

Institutional Review Board

Prior to launching data collection it is imperative that safety and protection of survey participants be considered. Institutional Review Boards (IRBs) help ensure that research involving human participants is conducted in an ethical manner. This includes verifying that risks to participants are minimized, that their selection is equitable, that they are fully informed of what the survey entails, and understand the potential risks and benefits. Information about IRBs as well as available services are included in the following links:

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