Hi, I had a Skype call last week with a colleague working in development programme aiming at strengthening the ways evidence is used in policymaking. The programme has concluded its first phase and has just started the second phase. He asked me how detailed the situation analysis to inform a Theory of Change discussion has to be.
During the search for references on this point I came across the paper by Isabel Vogel, The use of ‘Theory of Change’ in international development (http://www.theoryofchange.org/pdf/DFID_ToC_Review_VogelV7.pdf) which speaks at page 40 about the role of evidence in theory of change thinking.
A programme that enters its second phase usually has enough (internal) knowledge about the political context, problems, opportunities, and challenges of bringing more and better evidence into policymaking. This knowledge can be further strengthened by the participation in the ToC workshops and discussion of the programme partners.
Now, the question I have for you is whether baselines studies, need assessments, etc. need to be part of the situation analysis before the ToC discussion or they are rather part of an analysis that is part of the planning of activities aimed at achieving the changes that the ToC describes?
Do you have references and links you can share about this point?