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Monitoring and evaluation

Defining MRE indicators and mixed-methods approach

In order to gain an accurate picture of adaptation progress and performance, MRE systems often need to utilise and analyse multiple data sources, across a range of scales and sectors. A system that utilises ‘mixed-methods’ is likely to be more flexible than one reliant on limited sources of data. Such an approach combines quantitative and qualitative methods allowing more effective triangulation of MRE information. Different data sources can be checked against each other to ensure that the overall narrative of adaptation progress is robust, consistent and contextualised. This approach can also help to overcome some of the limitations of both quantitative and qualitative data.

Adaptation indicators often play a critical role within M&E systems. Quantitative indicators are attractive to policy and decision makers as they provide quantifiable, seemingly unambiguous ‘evidence' of progress and performance. When identifying appropriate indicators both for monitoring and evaluating the process and the outcomes, take account of the following:

  • Do not reinvent the wheel: The use of pre-existing indicators (in some cases adapting them to purpose) is an accepted and pragmatic approach that brings advantages in terms of efficiency as well as providing multiple perspectives on adaptation.
  • It is not necessarily the value of an individual indicator that needs to be considered, but whether a set of indicators provides a coherent and robust picture of adaptation progress.
  • Indicators are often created in an iterative and interactive process with experts and stakeholders.
  • Consider using a combination of process, output and outcome indicators, recognising that in some cases adaptation outcomes cannot be determined for many years.
  • The development of indicators requires pragmatism; consider the resources you have available as well as data access, availability and coherence.

Gathering stakeholder views and perspectives can help to validate quantitative data and enable the exploration of the questions of ‘how’ and ‘why’. This can lead to deeper understanding of the causes and processes underpinning adaptation progress. Stakeholders can include sectoral and thematic experts but also those most affected the impacts of climate change or individuals and organisations involved in implementing adaptation measures. A variety of methods can be used to gather this information including surveys, interviews, focus groups, public consultation events and workshops.

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