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Network perspectives in the evaluation of development interventions : more than a metaphor

November 2003

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This paper argues for the use of a network perspective in representing and evaluating aid interventions. Commonly used linear evaluation tools such as the logical framework (logframe) or problem tree selectively represent what an agency is trying to do, and then assess particular aspects of the intervention. Social network analysis describes social relationships which, the author contends, is what development is about. The wide range of methods and theories for network analysis means that there are lots of ways of thinking about and describing expected outcomes of interventions. Social network analysis is also very flexible in terms of the scale of the project, and can accomodate non-linear processes of change. This paper presents these five arguments for social network analysis, and then describes next steps for developing a coherent approach to evaluation based on a network perspective