This protocol from Oxfam GB is aimed at supporting the understanding and use of process tracing when evaluating policy influencing interventions. The paper outlines eight steps involved for undertaking process tracing and provides detailed guidance for implementing them.
- Undertake a process of (re)constructing the intervention’s theory of change, in order to clearly define the intervention being evaluated – what is it trying to change (outcomes), how it is working to effect these changes (strategies/streams of activities) and what assumptions is it making about how it will contribute to these changes (key assumptions)
- Work with relevant stakeholders to identify up to three intermediate and/or final outcomes considered by stakeholders to be the most significant for the evaluation to focus on (central to the intervention’s theory of change, and useful for learning/forward planning)
- Systematically assess and document what was done under the intervention to achieve the selected targeted outcomes.
- Identify and evidence the extent to which the selected outcomes have actually materialised, as well as any relevant unintended outcomes.
- Undertake “process induction” to identify salient plausible causal explanations for the evidenced outcomes.
- Gather required data and use “process verification” to assess the extent to which each of the explanations identified in Step 5 are supported or not supported by the available evidence.
- Write a narrative analytical report to document the above research processes and findings.
- Summarise aspects of the above narrative analysis by allocating project/campaign “contribution scores” for each of the targeted and/ or associated outcomes