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Specific Guide


Term widely used throughout the Guidelines, since the immediate objective of the Guidelines and their main output are precisely the production of “good” guides for evaluating development research. It is called a "specific guide" because it is intended to be used in specific, well-defined situations, contexts, availability of resources, etc.

Some people prefer to call it a “local guide” or a “practical guide”. This is all-right, as long as the Guidelines are used to write them.

A specific guide aims to assist, in a practical manner, the person(s) in charge of evaluating a research project, a researcher or a team of researchers, or a scientific publication. Its length and content may vary widely: it doesn’t at all need to be a heavy or complicated document.

The size and the degree of sophistication of the specific guide will depend on a number of factors such as:

  • its intended use: (what for? by whom?),
  • the complexity of the object of evaluation,
  • the requirements expressed by the evaluation’s sponsor,
  • the amount of resources involved in the research and/or the resources available for evaluating it.

A specific guide can therefore be: 

  • just a simple questionnaire or grid, accompanied with brief instructions for its use,
  • a short text with an introduction, tools and procedures, and maybe a few annexes,
  • a full-fledged manual or handbook.

Their author will decide according to his/her objectives and needs, but prefer simplicity whenever possible.


In practice the specific guide should:

  • tell its reader – i.e. the actual evaluator – as precisely as possible which information he/she is expected to provide, and which tools he/she should use to that effect,
  • supply the evaluator with the necessary tools and instructions,
  • instruct him/her about how to design and conduct the evaluation,
  • provide him/her with examples, as fit.

Writing the specific guide

This topic is fully covered in the main page “writing the specific guide”. Rules for the content and instructions for using the specific guide are also dealt with in that page.