Whether you are commissioning an evaluation, designing one or implementing one, having - and sharing - a very clear understanding of what is being evaluated is paramount. For complicated or complex interventions this isn't always as straight forward as it sounds, which is why BetterEvaluation offers specific guidance on options for doing this.
Many evaluations use a theory of change approach, which identifies how activities are understood to contribute to a series of outcomes and impacts. These can help guide data collection, analysis and reporting. But what if the theory of change is has gaps, leaves out important things – or is just plain wrong?
This week on BetterEvaluation we're presenting Questions and Answers about logic models. A logic model represents a program theory - how an intervention (such as a program, project or policy) is understood to contribute to its impacts.
A programme theory explains how an intervention (a project, a programme, a policy, a strategy) is understood to contribute to a chain of results that produce the intended or actual impacts.
It can include positive impacts (which are beneficial) and negative impacts (which are detrimental). It can also show the other factors which contribute to producing impacts, such as context and other projects and programmes.
Different types of diagrams can be used to represent a programme theory. These are often referred to as logic models, as they show the overall logic of how the intervention is understood to work.