Negative Programme Theory

Most programme theories, logic models and theories of change show how an intervention is expected to contribute to positive impacts. Negative programme theory, a technique developed by Carol Weiss, shows how it might produce negative impacts.

A negative programme theory is constructed using the same processes used to construct a positive programme theory - talking to people about how the intervention works, observing the programme (if it is currently running), drawing on previous research and literature, and using analogies with similar programmes - but with possible negative impacts at the end of the logic model rather than the intended positive impacts.  

These negative impacts might be:

  • the reverse of the intended ones (for example, if the programme aims to produce improved educational achievement, a possible negative impact would be reduced educational achievement),
  • or different types of impacts (for example a programme that aims to improve household income might increase deforestation).


Funnell, S., & Rogers, P. (2011). Purposeful program theory: Effective use of theories of change and logic models. San Francisco, CA: John Wiley & Sons. 

This page is a stub (a minimal version of a page). You can help expand it.  Click on Contribute Content or Contact Us to suggest additional resources, share your experience using the option, or volunteer to expand the description.

Updated: 24th September 2014 - 10:43pm
This Option is useful for:
A special thanks to this page's contributors
Founder and former-CEO, BetterEvaluation.


Anonymous's picture
Naïm Deen SALAMI

Ne serait-ce pas comme faire des hypothèses zéro ou à résultat nul?

Add new comment

Login Login and comment as BetterEvaluation member or simply fill out the fields below.