Identify potential unintended results

Many evaluations and logic models only focus on intended outcomes and impacts - but positive or negative unintended results can be important too.

Use these options before a program is implemented to identify possible unintended outcomes and impacts, especially negative impacts (that make things worse not better) that should also be investigated and tracked.

Make sure your data collection remains open to unintended results that you have not anticipated by including some open-ended questions in interviews and questionnaires, and by encouraging reporting of unexpected results.

Once you have identified possible unintended consequences use options from the 'DESCRIBE' component to gather information about them if and when they occur.  Make sure your data collection remains open to the unintended and unanticipated by including some open-ended questions in interviews and questionnaires, and by encouraging reporting of unexpected results.

Options

  • Key informant interviews: asking experienced people to identify in advance possible unintended outcomes, based on their experience with similar programs, or actual unintended outcomes based on their knowledge of others' experiences of it . Program critics can be especially useful.
  • Negative programme theory: identifying ways in which program activities might produce negative impacts rather than their intended impacts.
  • Risk assessment: identifying the potential negative impacts, their likelihood of occurring and how they might be avoided.
  • Six Hats Thinking about unintended results: promoting holistic and lateral thinking in decision-making and evaluation. 
  • Unusual events reporting: making sure that unforeseen events, incidents or outcomes are recorded.

 

 

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