C4D: Define

Define is one of the seven clusters of R,M&E tasks in the Rainbow Framework. The Define tasks involves developing a description of the program and how it is understood to work.

There are three tasks associated with define. Each task contains C4D specific methods, advice and resources on developing understandings about how the program works.

Define tasks relate to other tasks in the following ways:

  • stakeholders may be engaged in defining the program, see the 'manage' cluster of tasks
  • defining the program helps guide choices about what data to collect in the 'describe' cluster of tasks
  • defining the program can inform planning for investigating causal attribution and contribution under 'understand causes'

In this section

  • It is important to be clear about the boundaries of what will be included in an evaluation.  As part of this, it can be helpful to develop an initial brief description of what will be evaluated, which can provide a starting point for discussions to find where there are different perspectives and gaps. 
  • A program theory or logic model explains how the activities of an intervention are understood to contribute to a chain of results (short-term outputs, medium-term outcomes) that produce ultimate intended or actual impacts. It can be shown in the form inputs->processes->outputs ->outcomes -> impacts but sometimes other forms are more useful.
  • Unintended results may be positive or negative. Unintended results should be considered as part of the development of a program theory (see Develop program theory or logic model). This means that possible unintended outcomes and impacts, especially negative impacts (that make things worse, not better) can be investigated and tracked.