MERL Tech Forum

The MERL Tech Forum is an online space for discussion, learning, and sharing experiences and challenges related to digital data and technology in Monitoring, Evaluation, Research and Learning (MERL) in the social impact & international development and humanitarian fields.

We focus holistically on MERL Tech, with consideration for five key areas that require attention: organizational, methodological, technological, operational and ethical.

Discussion topics include:

  • how newer technologies and digital data are being used in MERL
  • how new approaches and ways of thinking are changing MERL and what this means for how development and social impact work happen
  • how participation and voice can be enhanced through new technologies
  • how digitized processes of data collection, use and sharing can increase risk and ways we can be more responsible throughout the data lifecycle
  • when, where, how, why, in which situations it’s NOT useful to use technology in MERL
  • ways that issues with bias, rigor, validity, etc. (that are often enhanced when using technology in MERL) can be overcome
  • others that group members consider relevant

We also invite:

  • sharing of research, evidence and learning about the use of technology in development MERL (where’s the MERL on MERL Tech?)
  • questions about how to incorporate technology into MERL
  • questions about how to conduct MERL on technology-enabled programming
  • big picture and ethical questions and discussions about MERL and technology and digital data
  • announcements about MERL Tech-related events, jobs, internships and training/ learning and other opportunities
  • alerts about new articles, publications, documentation and evidence on MERL Tech, digital data, adaptive management and related areas

We strive to be a dynamic and open space where researchers, evaluators, development practitioners, humanitarian aid workers, technology developers, data analysts/scientists, funders and others involved in this emerging field can come together for trans-disciplinary conversations, learning and collaboration.

We moderate the space to ensure that conversations and debates are lively, in-depth, friendly and inclusive.

Join the MERL Tech Forum by sending an email to