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Contribution Tracing

There is increasing emphasis placed by impact evaluation commissioners on assessing the contribution made by projects and programmes to changing people’s lives, commonly referred to as a ‘contribution claim’. It can be argued that current theory-based approaches fail to provide evaluators with guidance on the ‘right’ data to gather and the quality of that data in relation to a particular contribution claim. This course aims to guide evaluators to collect data which can help assess how strongly or weakly such data support contribution claims.

United Kingdom
11th July, 2016 to 13th July, 2016
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City of London
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‘Contribution Tracing’ is inspired by the principles of Process Tracing and Bayesian updating (probability), which attempts to make these methods accessible, relevant and applicable by evaluators. This course presents a rigorous quali-quantitative approach to establishing the validity of contribution claims in impact evaluation, with explicit criteria to guide evaluators in data collection and in measuring confidence in their findings.

The course is designed for evaluation practitioners and commissioners with an interest in impact assessment. It will particularly appeal to those wishing to impact assess projects and programmes in policy; advocacy and lobbying; and influencing. As the course is at an intermediate level, it may not be suitable for those without prior monitoring and evaluation experience.

This is a participatory course with a comprehensive mix of theory, practice and dialogue. Participants will be encouraged to learn by using examples from their own advocacy work and practice.

About the Facilitators:

Contribution Tracing has been developed and will be facilitated by Gavin Stedman-Bryce and Barbara Befani. They will use a combination of training methods including learning by doing, scenario responses and short presentations. 


£900 (+VAT at 20%). The course fee includes lunch and refreshments, a digital toolkit of resources and access to our online community of practice.


The three-day course will take place at the NCVO in London King’s Cross on 11–13 July 2016. Places are limited, so early booking is advisable. Visit the event website to make your online booking.

Further reading

Contribution Analysis (Approach page)

Contribution Analysis is an approach for assessing causal questions and inferring causality in real-life program evaluations. It offers a step-by-step approach designed to help managers, researchers, and policymakers arrive at conclusions about the contribution their program has made (or is currently making) to particular outcomes. The essential value of contribution analysis is that it offers an approach designed to reduce uncertainty about the contribution the intervention is making to the observed results through an increased understanding of why the observed results have occurred (or not!) and the roles played by the intervention and other internal and external factors. Read more.

Process Tracing (Option page)

Process tracing is a case-based approach to causal inference which focuses on the use of clues within a case (causal-process observations, CPOs) to adjudicate between alternative possible explanations. Read more.