News & Views

Welcome to the QuIP’s new home!

Anyone who has followed the fortunes of the Assessing Rural Transformations project since 2012 will know that the launch of our new website is a significant milestone for the QuIP. is now the online home and repository of resources related to the Qualitative Impact Protocol – thanks to a follow-on research grant from ESRC-DFID. Having a lasting presence online is a vital part of our aim to try to make the QuIP methodology and toolkit as widely available as possible, reaching every M&E practitioners’ tool bag.

When James Copestake and I first started developing and testing the QuIP in 2012, our primary aim was to convince more academics and practitioners that a qualitative approach to impact assessment can be rigorous and credible enough. With the ‘Big Push Forward’ gathering momentum against the excesses of the results agenda we knew that there was interest in alternative approaches to impact assessment in a field dominated by quantitative approaches. As the research developed and our four pilot studies attracted interest we raised our ambitions for what the QuIP could achieve beyond the research project.

Whilst the ESRC-DFID funding enabled us to share our research and detailed guidelines at workshops and online, there is an ongoing need for resources to continue supporting training and use of the protocol, as well as development of the approach for other contexts and sectors. An opportunity to develop plans further came through a six-month business development exercise called Innovation to Commercialisation of University Research (ICURe), supported by the SetSquared Partnership and underwritten by Innovate UK. This programme enabled us to undertake intensive market research and develop a business model to sustain QuIP support; raise funds by providing QuIP studies, training and access to analysis software. The result is the creation of a non-profit research organisation called Bath Social & Development Research Ltd., which will continue to support the promotion and development of the QuIP.

Having spoken to over 100 potential users of the QuIP, we believe that this is the best way to ensure that the integrity of the QuIP is protected and that we can continue to contribute to a growing need for better, more transparent evidence – direct from intended beneficiaries.

Every day I find more to inspire me to continue, coming across articles like this one by a contributor to the Guardian Secret Aid Worker column, ‘By not measuring impact, NGOs are abusing their power‘, or an intriguing project which may at first glance seems like a joke, but is in fact a serious foundation called What Went Wrong?; intended beneficiaries upload the results of poorly conceived or supported aid projects via social media, building a series of visual stories of failure. These initiatives confirm the need and demand for improved learning to ensure that mistakes are not repeated. There are also some great, positive stories on the power of good evaluations – a blog of international Evaluation Stories is currently showcasing some very interesting examples.

The majority of the 100+ people I have spoken to over the last few months were equally passionate about moving towards much more honest impact assessment, although there is no denying that there is fear about ‘bad’ results. I take heart in the very positive response we have had from many potential collaborators, who are keen to encourage more honest and constructive reporting, and who value having the beneficiaries’ voices at the heart of the impact assessment.

Please do take a look at the new website and send us comments on what you’d like to see added as we develop the site in future, or get in touch if you’d like to find out more about the QuIP. We hope to secure funding in the future to help us develop training and better analytical software. If you’d be interested in supporting us on this journey, please get in touch.

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