MERL Tech State of the Field: The Evolution of MERL Tech

This first paper in the State of the Field series on the role and impact of technology on monitoring, evaluation, research, and learning (MERL) builds on the 2014 landscape report on emerging opportunities for monitoring and evaluation (M&E), in which trends in the use of technology for MERL were identified, yet with scarce evidence. The landscape report spurred the first MERL Tech Conference in 2014 and a series of follow-on conferences between 2014 and 2019. Out of the conferences, a MERL Tech Community emerged — a confluence of people and discussions at the intersection of technology and MERL in international development, social impact, and humanitarian initiatives.

In this paper, we explore three waves of MERL Tech that emerged from our analysis and consider how innovation has diffused throughout the sector.

The full set of papers (listed below) explores the three waves in more detail.

MERL Tech State of the Field: The Evolution of MERL Tech: Linda Raftree, independent consultant and MERL Tech Conference organizer.

 

What We Know About Traditional MERL Tech: Insights from a Scoping Review: Zach Tilton, Michael Harnar, and Michele Behr, University of Western Michigan; Soham Banerji and Manon McGuigan, independent consultants; and Paul Perrin, Gretchen Bruening, John Gordley and Hannah Foster, University of Notre Dame; Linda Raftree, independent consultant and MERL Tech Conference organizer.

Big Data to Data Science: Moving from “What” to “How” in the MERL Tech SpaceKecia Bertermann, Luminate; Alexandra Robinson, Threshold.World; Michael Bamberger, independent consultant; Grace Lyn Higdon, Institute of Development Studies; Linda Raftree, independent consultant and MERL Tech Conference organizer.

Emerging Technologies and Approaches in Monitoring, Evaluation, Research, and Learning for International Development Programs: Kerry Bruce and Joris Vandelanotte, Clear Outcomes; and Valentine Gandhi, The Development CAFE and Social Impact.