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Tool 5

Monitoring & Evaluation  Framework

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Tool 5: MEL Framework

The first stage of developing a participatory monitoring, evaluating and learning (MEL) framework is to decide on a research question for the PAR. To help us answer a MEL question, and document the activities of our PAR process, we need a combination of different methods. MEL are three distinct but related activities that together will contribute to documenting the activities of our PAR process.  Within PAR (as with all research), it is important to recognise that data generation is not neutral, and that particular methods carry values and theoretical standpoints. Building these different methods into the MEL framework is the first step towards collective analysis; the second stage will be to develop an analytical framework, that draws on a collective theory of change.  Tool 5 offers a start to engage with ways in which MEL are both distinct and connected.

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Principles & Steps of Participatory Action Research (PAR) 

Tool 5: MEL Framework

Further tool resources

Acting in PAR 

Carmen Martinez-Vargas, University of the Free State

Carmen Martinez Vargas holds a PhD in Development Studies from the University of the Free State (South Africa) where she also taught postgraduate courses in Participatory Research Methodologies, Southern Theories and Development Studies. Her doctoral thesis focused on conceptualising and operationalising a Capabilities based participatory research project with university students in South Africa.  She has published her academic work on epistemic capabilities, participatory research and colonial conversion factors in higher education in refereed journals, and as book chapters in various edited volume books. Her research interests broadly focus on Decolonial and Southern thinking using the Capabilities Approach in Higher Education. Her forthcoming monograph is titled 'Democratising Participatory Research: Pathways to Social Justice from the South' (OpenBooks Publishers, 2021).