Understand Causes FAQ

Frequently Asked Questions

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How do I know if the program caused the results I can see?

Most evaluations need to investigate what is causing the outcomes and impacts of an intervention (some process evaluations assume that certain activities are contributing to intended outcomes without investigating these).
Sometimes it is useful to think about this in terms of ‘causal attribution’ – did the intervention cause the outcomes and impacts that have been observed?  In many cases, however, the outcomes and impacts have been caused by a combination of programs, or by a program in combination with other factors.  
In such cases it can be more useful to think about “causal contribution” – did the intervention contribute to the outcomes and impacts that have been observed?

Understanding causes usually involves addressing each of four separate tasks:


For options to address each of the listed tasks, go to the UNDERSTAND CAUSES section of the site.

For guides on investigating causation, go to the following guide reviews by clicking on these links:
Davidson, Nuts and Bolts – Chapter
Davidson – presentation