series event

Using Big Data for Evaluating Development Outcomes: Lessons for Evaluation During COVID

Significant data gaps remain in monitoring and evaluating development outcomes. Big data—that is digitally generated, passively produced and automatically collected—offer a great potential for answering some of these data needs. The use of big data in evaluation has become ever more relevant after the COVID-19 pandemic outbreak, which has severely limited the researchers’ opportunity to collect data in the field with traditional methods. In the talk, the authors will present a systematic map highlighting how big data are being innovatively used in measuring and evaluating development outcomes. The authors will also discuss the risks, biases and ethical challenges in using big data. The presentation will offer an opportunity to discuss what tools and technologies are available to conduct evaluation in the time of COVID.


Dr Francis Rathinam, Senior Evaluation Specialist, International Initiative for Impact Evaluation (3ie)

Francis manages 3ie impact evaluations across a wide spectrum of development issues, including transparency and accountability, governance and social protection. He also has been working closely with some of 3ie’s member country governments to build capacity to use and institutionalise impact evaluations. Francis is currently leading on 3ie’s systematic map of studies that used big data to innovatively evaluate development outcomes. Francis holds a PhD from University of Hyderabad, India.

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