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NCAP Policy Brief 21: Institutional Learning and Change: A Review of Concepts and Principles

To improve the performance of agricultural research, many
international and national research organisations have embarked
on impact assessment exercises. These exercises have estimated
technology adoption and economic rates of return to research
investments. Such exercises in ICAR have contributed to
accountability, and provided evidence on whether public funds
have been spent judiciously. However, for evaluation to be
effective, it must encompass both accountability and learning
objectives. It appears that less emphasis has been given to the
latter. Hall et al (2003a) state that impact assessment efforts
(in international research arenas) have not yielded desired results
because of the weak diagnostic power of commonly used impact
assessment techniques. These techniques fail to recognise
research as a complex process of interactions shaped by the habits
and practices of those involved which are critical for improving
research performance

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