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Theories of Change. John Young. A Theory of Change is…. An ongoing process of reflection on how change happens, and the role we can play:. locates a programme or project within a wider analysis of how change comes about; draws on external learning about development.

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a theory of change is
A Theory of Change is…

An ongoing process of reflection on how change happens, and the role we can play:

  • locates a programme or project within a wider analysis of how change comes about;
  • draws on external learning about development.
  • articulates our understanding of change - but also challenges us to explore it further.
  • acknowledges the complexity of change: the wider systems and actors that influence it
  • often presented in diagrammatic form with an accompanying narrative summary

Comic Relief, 2011

types
Types
  • Causal Chain - succession of elements with logical links (eg log-frame approach)
  • Dimensions of influence - overlapping domains which interact, where it is possible to influence (eg RAPID CEL Framework)
  • Actor-centred theories - where the behaviour of actors can be influenced (eg Outcome Mapping)
how to do it
How to do it
  • Identify what want to achieve.
  • Identify the people / organisations / processes are involved and how they influence change.
  • Map them.
  • Identify how you can influence them.
  • Identify which options will provide most value for money.
  • Decide what to monitor to see if you are on track.
  • Identify the resources and management processes do you need.
rapid outcome mapping approach
RAPID Outcome Mapping Approach

Start by defining your policy objectives – constantly review them during the process

r esources
Resources
  • Comic Relief Theory of Change Review 2011 - http://dmeforpeace.org/sites/default/files/James_ToC.pdf
  • A Guide to monitoring and evaluating policy influence. Harry Jones. ODI Background Note 2011- http://www.odi.org.uk/resources/details.asp?id=5252&title=monitoring-evaluation-me-policy-influence
  • Research to Action listing of resources on Theories of Change: http://www.researchtoaction.org/theory-of-change-useful-resources/
  • Keystone Accountabilities Guide to Developing a Theory of Change: http://www.researchtoaction.org/theory-of-change-useful-resources/
  • Key questions to ask when putting together a Theory of Change for Research Uptake by Andrew Clappison: http://www.researchtoaction.org/wp-content/uploads/2012/02/Key-questions-to-ask-when-putting-together-a-Theory-of-Change-for-Research-Uptake-by-Andrew-Clappison.pdf
  • DFID Guide to Managing the Inception Phase of Research Programme Consortia - http://www.dfid.gov.uk/R4D/PDF/Publications/RPC_Inception_Guidance.pdf
  • Ecosystem Services for Poverty Alleviation Theory of Change - http://www.espa.ac.uk/sites/all/modules/pubdlcnt/pubdlcnt.php?file=http://www.espa.ac.uk/files/espa/ESPA-Theory-of-Change.pdf&nid=37183