Improving the Evaluation of Interventions to Counter and Prevent Terrorism and Violent Extremism

A review and analysis of countering terrorism (CT) and preventing and countering violent extremism (P/CVE) intervention evaluations.

The purpose of the study was to support the efforts of the EU, other donors, implementers and beneficiaries to improve the monitoring and evaluation of CT and P/CVE projects and programmes by examining best practice in this field, identifying shortcomings and opportunities for improvement, including scientific evaluation methods and approaches used in other related or analogous fields.

At an early stage the research team chose to focus on evaluation as it was clear this was where shortcomings were more evident and more consequential. Whereas monitoring is a more technical and programmatic challenge, evaluation goes to the heart of how (and whether) interventions actually work. Moreover, several toolkits and guidance documents had recently been published which focus on supporting programme design and implementation, including developing measures and indicators for monitoring frameworks.

Project outputs

As an output of this project, a thought piece, published in October 2020, analysed the literature and interview data to assess methods of evaluation for CT and P/CVE interventions.

Report: Improving the Evaluation of Interventions to Counter and Prevent Terrorism and Violent Extremism


  • Donors should commission CT and P/CVE interventions with a substantial research component that explicitly seeks to test mechanisms through experimental and quasi experimental methods (whether embedded in a larger programme or standalone). 
  • Where experimental and quasi-experimental methods are inappropriate or insufficient, donors and implementers should ensure that qualitative theory-based methods are applied rigorously and with advice/support from monitoring and evaluation specialists. 
  • Donors and researchers should consider developing studies that, as a principal outcome, seek to apply to CT and P/CVE methods tried and tested in disciplines such as criminology. 
  • Donors in the CT and P/CVE field should commit to publishing evaluations and where possible establish criteria and conditions for publishing evaluations with implementers and beneficiaries at the outset of a programme. 
  • Donors and implementers should consider mixed evaluation teams that comprise different disciplines and specialisms. Where interventions are fully or partly designed to test the effectiveness of mechanisms, programme teams should include social scientists with expertise in designing and implementing research designs. 
  • Donors and implementers in the CT and P/CVE field should commit to developing a monitoring and evaluation (M&E) design at the outset of a programme, and should ensure they have access to M&E expertise throughout a programme’s lifecycle.


  • Funded by the European Union

    This project is part of CT MORSE and is funded by the European Union as an initiative contributing to peace and stability.

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