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USAID Contribution

Discussion Note: Making Evidence Accessible through Evaluation Synthesis


This content is currently under revision to align with the recently updated ADS 201. For guidance and support associated with revisions to ADS 201, please see the Program Cycle overview page.

Evaluation syntheses are analytic reviews of evaluations that aggregate findings from evaluation reports and/or examine the quality of the evaluations reviewed. This Discussion Note, Making Evidence Accessible through Evaluation Synthesis, focuses on two common types of evaluation syntheses that USAID commissions: meta-evaluations and meta-analyses. It highlights other related types of studies that provide evidence to inform programming.

This Discussion Note is a starting point for USAID staff interested in strengthening links between evidence from evaluations and other USAID-funded research and Agency investments in country strategies, projects, and activities. The Note describes how evaluation syntheses have been conducted to aggregate evidence in support of learning agendas and forward-looking assistance programming. It also illustrates how assessing evaluation quality and compliance with Agency policy can strengthen the credibility of the evidence USAID generates on what works and merits further investment or scaling up.

A companion Technical Report, Learning from Evaluation Syntheses, provides USAID stakeholders much more detailed information about what types of studies USAID has commissioned, what can be learned from evaluation syntheses and related studies, and what resources are required to carry out these efforts.

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