I see a lot of tenders and evaluations that are stressing either qualitative or quantitative based approaches.  As if in a backlash against the more complex evaluations that have been seen in the past five years or so.

I do sympathise with a desire for simplicity in evaluation that can deliver the results that the organisation needs, but without the jargon, density of result presentation (and that can be one of my faults too), complexity of unknown approaches.  However reducing down to either qualitative or quantitative approaches is not the answer in my view.  There is a long established consensus across many sectors that having more than one approach to measuring and testing your activities and results is a good thing.  Verify the results from one approach by using another provides greater confidence that the impact or outcome that you are recording is correct and can be relied upon in your fundraising and marketing material, your management reporting, your advocacy, etc.

To those organisations that want simplicity I would say that you probably need to challenge people like me to step up our game and provide the simplicity of reporting and communication, uncluttered by the density of the evidence and results, so that you can use the evidence with confidence and we can produce a product (evaluation, study, research, etc.) that will stand up to scrutiny.


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