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The six-sphere framework: A practical tool for assessing monitoring and evaluation systems

Kieron D. Crawley

African Evaluation Journal; Vol 5, No 1 (2017), 8 pages. doi: 10.4102/aej.v5i1.193

Submitted: 18 November 2016
Published:  12 April 2017


Background: Successful evaluation capacity development (ECD) at regional, national and institutional levels has been built on a sound understanding of the opportunities and constraints in establishing and sustaining a monitoring and evaluation system. Diagnostics are one of the tools that ECD agents can use to better understand the nature of the ECD environment. Conventional diagnostics have typically focused on issues related to technical capacity and the ‘bridging of the gap’ between evaluation supply and demand. In so doing, they risk overlooking the more subtle organisational and environmental factors that lie outside the conventional diagnostic lens.
Method: As a result of programming and dialogue carried out by the Centre for Learning on Evaluation and Results Anglophone Africa engaging with government planners, evaluators, civil society groups and voluntary organisations, the author has developed a modified diagnostic tool that extends the scope of conventional analysis.
Results: This article outlines the six-sphere framework that can be used to extend the scope of such diagnostics to include considerations of the political environment, trust and collaboration between key stakeholders and the principles and values that underpin the whole system. The framework employs a graphic device that allows the capture and organisation of structural knowledge relating to the ECD environment.
Conclusion: The article describes the framework in relation to other organisational development tools and gives some examples of how it can be used to make sense of the ECD environment. It highlights the potential of the framework to contribute to a more nuanced understanding of the ECD environment using a structured diagnostic approach and to move beyond conventional supply and demand models.

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Author affiliations

Kieron D. Crawley, Centre for Learning on Evaluation and Results (CLEAR), Wits School of Governance, University of the Witwatersrand, South Africa


Evaluation Diagnostic; Structural knowledge; Graphic techniques


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ISSN: 2310-4988 (print) | ISSN: 2306-5133 (online)

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