Glossary of Key Terms in Evaluation and Results Based Management

The DAC Working Party on Aid Evaluation (WP-EV) has developed this glossary of key terms in evaluation and results-based
management because of the need to clarify concepts and to reduce the terminological confusion frequently encountered in these areas.
Evaluation is a field where development partners – often with widely differing linguistic backgrounds – work together and need to use
a common vocabulary. Over the years, however, definitions evolved in such a way that they bristled with
faux amis, ambivalence and
ambiguity. It had become urgent to clarify and refine the language employed and to give it a harmonious, common basis. With this
publication, the WP-EV hopes to facilitate and improve dialogue and understanding among all those who are involved in development
activities and their evaluation, whether in partner countries, development agencies and banks, or non-governmental organisations. It
should serve as a valuable reference guide in evaluation training and in practical development work.
The selection of terms and their definitions in the attached glossary have been carefully discussed and analysed and have benefited
from advice and inputs, notably from DAC Members and the academic evaluation community. A WP-EV Task Force, chaired by
theWorld Bank, led the overall project, in collaboration with the Secretariat. France took the lead on the French version, whilst the
Inter-American Development Bank produced the Spanish translation. Denmark, the Netherlands, Norway, and UNDP provided
financial support for the initial collection and review work, and Switzerland contributed financial support for producing this free
distribution publication.
The process has been guided by the highest considerations of clarity and conciseness and a spirit of collaboration and compromise
in terms of the willingness of major development agencies and banks not to impose their specific vocabulary on others. Although
terminology will continue to evolve alongside changing development practices and management instruments, this glossary is a “state
of-the-art” of key terms in use today.
Niels Dabelstein
Chair of the Working Party on Aid Evaluation