GODAN Action evaluation framework – determining how open data changes people’s lives

  • How does open data contribute to change and achieving impact for end users, like smallholder farmers or consumers?
  • How to determine if a project is effectively implemented to achieve change?
  • How to assess if a project contributes or has contributed to foreseen impact?

The GODAN Action evaluation framework assists evaluators in designing an evaluation. It provides guidelines and good practices for designing and performing evaluations, in different stages of a project which uses open data . No one solution exists for evaluation, as each project has its own aim and character, and evaluation objectives. The GODAN Action evaluation framework provides an agile method that can be tailored to the specific situation.

When would I choose this tool?

Mechanisms to bring about change with open data are complex. Many open data projects do not explicitly document how they intend to achieve impact, how they monitor progress and learn to improve, and how change can be tracked. The GODAN Action evaluation framework aims at professional evaluators involved in evaluating open data projects and at practitioners who wish to learn more about how to maximize the potential of open data initiatives:  

  • As a guideline to understand how open data can bring about change
  • To develop a sound methodology to monitor progress towards change and to learn and improve.
  • To assess change, by measuring outcome and impact, and to understand what has worked and what not.
What are the main advantages?
  • Provides a structured approach that can be broadly applied in the phases of project design, project execution and beyond the project’s lifetime
  • Uses Theory of Change as a method to describe impact pathways, and as a leading concept throughout all phases of impact evaluation
  • Considers and anticipates the influence of external conditions, particularly political economy
  • Focuses on assessing outcomes to allow early stage evaluation and realistically measurable effects
  • Strongly emphasizes learning and improvement as an evaluation objective

The framework specifically focuses on projects in developing countries that work with open data. These are usually relatively short-term and are undertaken in environments where political economy is often not optimal with regard to open data. Initiatives that are longer-term (e.g. funding programmes) or that are initiated from business or policy sectors can also benefit from the framework, but might need to emphasize or add specific topics.

How do I apply?
  • Download the evaluation guidelines document
  • Read the principles underlying the framework and study the framework’s evaluation questions and their elements.
  • To get an idea of how the framework has been used in practice, take a look at the case studies that are provided as part of the Annex.
  • Determine which evaluation questions and steps are most relevant to apply in your situation.