Today INTRAC is launching the M&E universe, a free, online resource for development practitioners involved in monitoring and evaluation.
What is it?
The M&E Universe is a free, online resource developed by INTRAC to support development practitioners involved in monitoring and evaluation (M&E). It consists of a series of short papers (2-6 pages) on different subjects related to M&E. It can be explored through an online platform (intrac.org/universe) that is compatible with most web browsers.
The M&E Universe is designed to guide practitioners through all aspects of M&E, and help them to choose appropriate approaches, methods and tools for their purpose and context. It complements rather than replaces other resources, and each paper directs the user to further resources / online libraries, recommended by INTRAC and other respected M&E practitioners. It is not an online guide, although it does contain advice on a range of subjects. Nor is it a set of academic papers seeking to push a particular point of view.
The M&E Universe draws heavily on the practical experiences of INTRAC staff and consultants, and their work with numerous organisations and institutions. It is also based on many documents, papers, articles and books that have been published over the past few decades. It is intended that the resource will be updated on a regular basis, to keep track with shifting debates and ensure its continued relevance.
Who is it for?
The M&E Universe is designed for M&E practitioners with different levels of experience and expertise in M&E, from those new to M&E who want an entry level into the subject to experienced practitioners wanting to broaden their knowledge. Initial contact with the Map will provide people with a starting point for understanding different aspects of M&E and how they link to each other. More experienced practitioners can browse the Map to identify more advanced subjects of interest, such as sampling methods, different forms of evaluation, organisational M&E systems and complex methodologies for data collection and analysis.
The M&E Universe was developed for practitioners who are: involved in developing, maintaining and implementing M&E systems; tasked with designing, conducting or facilitating reviews, evaluations or impact assessments; or undertaking M&E tasks as part of their day-to-day responsibilities, such as project or programme managers.
We also hope it will be useful for those who need to know about M&E, even if they are not practically involved (e.g. managers needing to make decisions about what approaches to take, those wishing to keep up to date with current trends, donors and funders wishing to know what is possible and reasonable to expect from organisations that they support.
The M&E Universe has specifically been designed to support civil society organisations (CSOs) and draws many of its examples from the work of NGOs and other types of CSO. However, it will also be relevant to other actors working in international development and humanitarian work.
What makes it different?
The M&E Universe is different from other online resources:
- it focuses on monitoring as well as evaluation, and is aimed particularly at staff working on internal M&E within organisations, rather than outside experts;
- it includes areas of M&E such as M&E systems, which are not widely covered elsewhere;
- it is comprehensive – people can explore what they don’t know about M&E, as well as find what they were looking for;
- it is practitioner-focussed, with content developed by M&E practitioners for M&E practitioners;
- it is flexible and adaptable – more papers will be added, and we plan to review and update papers to response to trends and debates.
How do I get started?
For those completely new to M&E we suggest you start by accessing the ‘planning and M&E’ paper at the centre of the Map, and then proceed to look at the papers on ‘developing a plan’, ‘influences on the M&E approach’, ‘develop an M&E approach’ and ‘M&E plans’. For more experienced practitioners we invite you to browse the Map to look for gaps in your knowledge or to examine whatever interests you.
We hope that you find this new, free resource from INTRAC useful. We’d be very keen to have your feedback and suggestions on the M&E Universe, so please use the comment box below to share your thoughts.