We are in the Information Age; yet it is hard to assess with any certainty the impact of programs designed to strengthen free flows of information and independent media. Certain sectors, such as social sector development and agriculture, have agreed-upon impact methodologies and a good bench of human and financial resources to perform them; Information and Media Development programs (usually funded and designed from a democracy and governance perspective) are in much earlier stages of developing impact models and protocols. This conversation will focus on eliciting and sharing promising avenues for impact evaluation in this area. Breakout groups will focus on: 1) How might we embed traditional research methods and media assessments - such as media monitoring and content analysis - into larger theoretical frameworks that use statistical analysis? Are experimental models relevant? 2) (How) should indexes, such as the Media Sustainability Index, be used to assess impact? 3) What can we learn by tracking indicators on capacity strengthening and governance, such as drivers of accountability? 4) Is there a role for qualitative research and storytelling? 5) Could we construct a 'rigorous enough' research model balancing the realities of complexity, small budgets, and limited time? This session will bring together evaluators and practitioners from a range of perspectives to tackle these questions and set out a practical path forward toward sector-wide protocols or an alternative route.

Speaker Info:

  • Tara Susman-Pena, Session Facilitator
  • Susan Abbott, First Author or Discussion Group Leader
  • Joy Amulya, Second Author or Discussion Group Leader
  • Sonia Whitehead, Third Author or Discussion Group Leader