Uptake pathways: the potential of Bayesian
belief networks to assist the management,
monitoring and evaluation of
*, R.W. Burn
Performance Measurement Directorate, National Audit Oﬃce, 157-197 Buckingham Palace Road,
London SW1W 9SP, UK
Statistical Services Centre, University of Reading, PO Box 240, Reading RG6 6FN, UK
Received 25 May 2001; received in revised form 2 December 2002; accepted 7 February 2003
The eﬀectiveness of development assistance has come under renewed scrutiny in recent
years. In an era of growing economic liberalisation, research organisations are increasingly
being asked to account for the use of public funds by demonstrating achievements. However,
in the natural resources (NR) research ﬁeld, conventional economic assessment techniques
have focused on quantifying the impact achieved rather understanding the process that
delivered it. As a result, they provide limited guidance for planners and researchers charged
with selecting and implementing future research. In response, ‘‘pathways’’ or logic models
have attracted increased interest in recent years as a remedy to this shortcoming. However, as
commonly applied these suﬀer from two key limitations in their ability to incorporate risk and
assess variance from plan. The paper reports the results of a case study that used a Bayesian
belief network approach to address these limitations and outlines its potential value as a tool
to assist the planning, monitoring and evaluation of development-orientated research.
# 2003 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
Keywords: Research management; Monitoring and evaluation; Uptake pathways; Logic models; Bayesian
0308-521X/03/$ - see front matter # 2003 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
Agricultural Systems 79 (2004) 3–15
*Corresponding author. Tel.: +44-20-7798-7495; fax: +44-20-7798-7822.
E-mail addresses: firstname.lastname@example.org (J.S. Henderson), email@example.com
Tel.: +44-118-931-8025; fax: +44-118-975-3169.