Principles for data and development

Ethical by Design Evaluating Outcomes: Principles for Data and Development




Ethical by Design Evaluating Outcomes: Principles for Data & Development

Understand the ethical considerations in using big data across aid and development projects, and get a practical framework for decision making.

The increasing focus on impact, and its measurement is not solely about accountability. Instead, in this paper Dr Simon Longstaff presents why it’s driven by the desire to do as much good as possible in resource-constained conditions.

Traditionally the evaluation and monitoring of development based projects has been undertaken on the ground. However new technologies, big data, and AI have given rise to a host of possibilities, and with them, new ethical considerations.

The paper draws on insights generated by a project by Australia’s Department for Foreign Affairs, of which The Ethics Centre has been in consultation.

It offers an example Ethical Framework for decision making in new technology innovation for womens’ empowerment in Afghanistan, and a host of core tenants or considerations specific to the measurement and evaluation of development projects across areas of organisation, projects and data.

The report also provides a practical understanding of the components of an Ethical Framework, the virtue of ethical restraint, and the role of value driven decision making to benefit vulnerable groups in aid development work. Plus access a decision making model to slow down thinking and consider new perspectives.

It’s a great resource for anyone working with or associated with aid work domestically or internationally, particularly those involved in evaluation, measurement and data collection.

"The ethical impulse that drives innovation in development is to be admired. It is the same impulse that has led a range of actors to explore the possibilities of new technologies – not least in the field of data science – to improve the quality of monitoring and evaluation"



Ethical restraint
Empowering the vulnerable
Ethical Framework
Ethical decision making model



Dr Simon Longstaff

Dr Simon Longstaff has been Executive Director of The Ethics Centre for 30 years, working across business, government and society. He has a PhD in philosophy from Cambridge University, is a Fellow of CPA Australia and of the Royal Society of NSW, and an Honorary Professor at ANU National Centre for Indigenous Studies. Simon was made an Officer of the Order of Australia (AO) in 2013.