Keith [user:field_middlename] Child

Keith Child

Independent Consultant
Impact Works Inc.

Please add your fields of expertise and work experience

An Impact Evaluation and Monitoring Specialist with a track record in both research and development, and a passion for ensuring that scarce development dollars produce the most significant positive impact for beneficiaries.
Extensive experience in team leadership and the design, implementation, and management of M&E systems for CGIAR research programs and large international NGOs, working in both stable development and politically complex emergencies.
I am currently an independent consultant and CEO of Impact Works Inc., a registered Canadian monitoring and evaluation company.
In summary:
• Expert in evaluation and impact methodologies for complex, research-focused programs; excellent knowledge of Complexity-Aware Monitoring, Theory-Based Evaluation Designs and Theory of Change approaches;
• Advanced technical skillset in ex-post impact evaluation, employing a broad spectrum of methodologies, in-cluding qualitative, quantitative and participatory analysis and research;
• Substantive roles in systems and capacity-strengthening with demonstrable success in raising overall data quality;
• 15 years of experience in development issues in Africa and Asia at a senior management level; background as an Assistant Professor of Political Science at three Canadian Universities and with the Canadian Department of National Defence;
• Proven record of effective results-based management of large numbers of staff across multiple offices, leading high-level research within multi-disciplinary teams;
• Substantive knowledge of rural development and livelihoods, food and nutritional security, technology diffusion, gender and scaling readiness.
• Highly experienced in grant proposal writing, fundraising and working with donors and other partners, and in developing effective partnerships with Government, NGOs, the Academy and Private Sector;
• Congenial disposition with the ability to foster strong professional relationships and collaborations, and to make mature and sound decisions under challenging conditions.

My contributions

    • Altmetric and bibliometric indicators provide a good quantitative measure for evaluating scientific impact, but in isolation, they are far from sufficient for measuring the quality of science.  To do this, a much more comprehensive set of criteria and indicators are required. 

      Scientific research needs to be used and ultimately to make a difference in our lives.  ‘Bluesky’ research has its place in universities, but there are enough real-world problems to deal with that publically funded development research needs to focus on solutions that will make a difference.  Within a research for development context, a narrow interpretation of the quality of science is not enough. 

      Belcher, Ramsmussen, Kemshaw and Zornews (2016) have proposed a broad set of Quality of Research for Development (QoR4D) assessment criteria that are grouped into four sub-categories.  These include:

      1. Relevance to the problem context
      2. The credibility of the science
      3. The legitimacy of the research process
      4. Positioning of the research for use

      The criteria associated with these sub-categories are difficult to quantify and inevitably require the evaluator to make subjective judgments.  For example, for research to be regarded as legitimate, one criterion is that it offers authentic opportunities to involve stakeholders to share their perspectives and knowledge during the research process.  Turning this criterion into a quantitative indicator will be difficult in most cases.   Despite the challenges of operationalizing a broadly defined QoS framework, an approach like (or similar to) Belcher et al., is probably the only way to evaluate if scientific research is of sufficiently high quality to warrant public expenditures and continued support. 

      If altmetric and bibliometric indicators were enough to measure QoS, the role of an evaluator would be pretty simple.  But if we want to evaluate the nexus between science, research, and development, a broader set of criteria and indicators is needed.  Ultimately, this means that evaluators need to be trusted to make qualitative judgments based on established criteria (like those in the QoR4D framework) and supported by a persuasive body of evidence.