Theory of Change

Theory of Change Software

There are a number of options when it comes to using software to help create a logic model. These range from generic word processing tools (Word, Powerpoint, or their Google Doc or Mac equivilants), to software that has been specifically tailored for visualising Theories of Change, like TOCO or Miradi. You should consider what resources you have to invest in software, both in terms of cost and in time to learn and use the features. If you only have a short timeframe and have simple needs, then a basic tool may suit you better than some of the more complex software available. It's important to investigate a few options and see what is going to be best for you.

TOCO

Theory of Change Online (TOCO) is web-based software (no download required) that you can use to design and edit and store your Theory of Change, learn the concepts of theory of change, and capture your outcomes, indicators, rationales and assumptions in an interactive graphical environment.

VUE

The Visual Understanding Environment (VUE) is a concept and content mapping application, developed to support teaching, learning and research and for anyone who needs to organize, contextualize, and access digital information. Using a simple set of tools and a basic visual grammar consisting of nodes and links, faculty and students can map relationships between concepts, ideas and digital content. 

Illustrating models and theories of change

clysy's picture 22nd August 2017 by clysy

Chris Lysy, of Lysy Design, (and also known as Fresh Spectrum's 'evaluation cartoonist'), recently made our day by storifying an example of a logic model Patricia Rogers had previously created for the UNICEF Impact Evaluation Series in Brief 2: Theory of Change. With a few simple changes, Chris has managed to turn a rather static diagram into something that is more visually appealing and understandable to stakeholders.

He's kindly let us share it with you here, and you can find the original post along with more of Chris' writing on data design on the Lysy Design website along with help in telling the story of your data if you need it.

Using logic models and theories of change better in evaluation

Patricia Rogers's picture 19th May 2017 by Patricia Rogers

Many evaluations include a process of developing logic models and theories of change – an explanation of how the activities of a program, project, policy, network or event are expected to contribute to particular results in the short-term and longer-term.  They have been used for many years -  versions can be seen in Carol Weiss’ 1972 book "Evaluation research: methods for assessing program effectiveness" -  and they have been mainstreamed in many organisations

Program Logic / Theory of Change (2 days)

This workshop style training course introduces the program logic / theory of change concept and a step by step process for creating a logic model for programs of all types and levels of complexity. A program logic/ theory of change focuses not just on how a project is trying to achieve change, and what kinds of change, but also on who needs to change. The course includes discussion of how program logic / theory of change can be used for program design and to provide the structure for monitoring and evaluation plans. 

Qualitative Impact Assessment Protocol (QUIP)

The QUIP sets out to generate differentiated evidence of impact based on narrative causal statements elicited directly from intended project beneficiaries without use of a control group. Evidence of attribution is sought through respondents’ own accounts of causal mechanisms linking X to Y alongside Z rather than by relying on statistical inference based on variable exposure to X. This narrative data is intended to complement quantitative evidence on changes in X, Y and Z obtained through routine project monitoring.

Dylomo

Dylomo is a free, web-based tool that can be used to create interactive, online logic models. Its development involved a user-testing experience at the Canadian Evaluation Society conference in St. John's, Newfoundland & Labrador, Canada in June 2016, and was demonstrated at the Australasian Evaluation Society conference in Perth, Australia, 2016. 

BetterEvaluation FAQ: How can you get stakeholders to articulate how they think a program or project works?

RosemaryC's picture 29th July 2016 by RosemaryC

In our last newsletter we drew attention to our option page on Articulating Mental Models (part of the Develop program theory or logic model task), and asked the BetterEvaluation community: