Interrogating the theory of change: evaluating impact investing where it matters most

This article uses case examples to demonstrate the value of using theory of change at all levels of impact investing and affirms the importance of accountability and learning across combinations of evaluation methods.

This resource and the following information was contributed by Kaye Stevens.

Authors and their affiliation

Edward T. Jackson, School of Public Policy and Administration, Carleton University

Year of publication


Type of resource

  • Discussion paper

Key features

 This article provides an overview of impact investing and the contribution of the field of development evaluation. The value of theory of change to the evaluation of impact investing is explored and case examples used to illustrate how theory of change has been productively applied to all levels of the impact investing field. The article concludes that more comprehensive use of theory of change is needed, especially to the micro-level of individuals, households and communities, where the results of impact investments matter most. 

Who is this resource useful for?

  • Advocates for evaluation;
  • Evaluators;

How have you used or intend on using this resource?

As an introduction to the overlap between impact investing and development evaluation fields that clearly argues the importance of using appropriate methods for learning about the impact of investments. 

Why would you recommend it to other people?

 Argues the case that the evaluation of impact investments using a theory of change approach enhances both accountability and the learning needed for responsive adaptation when seeking to influence problems with complex causes. 


Edward T. Jackson (2013) Interrogating the theory of change: evaluating impact investing where it matters most, Journal of Sustainable Finance & Investment, 3:2, 95-110, DOI: 10.1080/20430795.2013.776257

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