Expanding the scope of humanitarian program evaluation

Paul Bolton, Judith Bass, Laura Murray, Katharine Lee, William Weiss, Sharon M. McDonnell

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Scopus citations


The effectiveness of humanitarian programs normally is evaluated according to a limited number of pre-defined objectives. These objectives typically represent only selected positive expected impacts of program interventions and as such, are inadequate benchmarks for understanding the overall effectiveness of aid.This is because programs also have unexpected impacts (both positive and negative) as well as expected negative impacts and expected positive impacts beyond the program objectives.The authors contend that these other categories of program impacts also should be assessed, and suggest a methodology for doing so that draws on input from the perspectives of beneficiaries. This paper includes examples of the use of this methodology in the field. Finally, the authors suggest future directions for improving this type of expanded assessment and advocate for its widespread use, both within and without the field of disaster response.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)390-395
Number of pages6
JournalPrehospital and disaster medicine
Issue number5
StatePublished - 2007


  • disaster
  • evaluation
  • humanitarian
  • impact
  • method
  • objective
  • program
  • response

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Emergency Medicine
  • Emergency


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