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This article illustrates the value of large-scale impact evaluations with counterfactual components. It begins by exploring the limitations of small-scale impact studies, which do not allow reliable inference to a wider population or which do not use valid comparison groups. The paper then describes the design features of a recent large-scale randomised control trial (RCT) evaluation of an intermediate phase literacy intervention that we evaluated. Using a rigorous sampling process anddoi:10.15700/saje.v37n1a1248 fatcat:q6gc7z6gqvcodfgv6ffrmbgpfe