Integrating survey and ethnographic methods to evaluate conditional cash transfer programs

Michelle Adato
ifpri discussion paper
2008

"Survey and ethnographic methods have been combined in the evaluations of conditional cash transfer (CCT) programs for the governments of Nicaragua and Turkey. This paper describes the quantitative and qualitative research designs for these evaluations, discusses the relative benefits of quantitative and qualitative approaches for studying CCTs, and provides examples of how findings of these different approaches complemented, explained, illuminated, or contradicted each other. While the surveys provided reliable measures of program impacts on human capital, the qualitative research provided explanations of why we do or do not find these impacts, and explored how social processes and social relations were affected by, and in turn shaped responses to, the programs. While many official evaluations now require mixed methods, and these have demonstrated policy relevance and impacts, there is still considerable progress to be made with respect to how methods are integrated in practice and how mixed approaches are appreciated in social program evaluation." --from authors' abstract