Endline research is an opportunity to ask probing questions about how the program has performed, why, and how we might course correct for next time. It is a chance to check the deeper thinking behind the program, examining not just what we did but why.
What to do:
- If you haven’t already, now is the time to create your learning agenda. Your learning agenda identifies the high value questions and priority areas for investigation that you believe can teach you the most fruitful lessons to help you hone your approach for next time.
- Start by thinking about the causal chain through which you think your program achieves the desired result.
- Identify the places in this chain where you are making assumptions. Where are there areas of uncertainty? Where might there be unknown unknowns?
- Has the program gone exactly as expected or have there been puzzling surprises? What do you still not know about the context or the true factors at play?
Reveal learning opportunities
- Now that you have identified broad areas for investigation, write specific questions for the researchers to investigate. Work with the research team to finalise the research plan.
Pause, Reflect, Act
- When the research results are in, come together with key stakeholders to pause & reflect on what the research is saying. What have we learned? Does the research have useful lessons for how to make the program stronger next time?
- Ensure the research results are shared with everyone who could learn from them. Data & learning are everyone’s business, not just the MEL team’s.