Results-Based Management Tip Sheet 2.2 – SyntaxFootnote 1 Structure of Outcome, Output and Activity Statements

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This tip sheet is a companion to the Results-Based Management for International Assistance Programming at Global Affairs Canada: A How-to Guide. This tool expands on the discussion of the structure for outcome and output statements in the How-to Guide and provides a reference tool that you can use in your day-to-day work.

This tool can be used to develop and assess outcome (result) statements. It can be used as an informal validation tool to help determine whether outcome statements clearly identify the: who, what and where of the expected change. This helps ensure that outcomes are concrete, realistic and focused. The tool can be used in a similar way for output statements.

Outcome, output and activity statement structures

Outcome statements (ultimate, intermediate and immediate)

A strong outcome statement starts with a word that indicates the direction of the expected change, and tells you what will change, who will experience the change, and where that change takes place.

Direction

Use an adjective (drawn from a verb in past tense) to indicate the expected direction of change. For example: increased, improved, reduced, enhancedFootnote 2.

What

The actual thing/element that will change. For example:

To describe the type of change sought for intermediaries or beneficiaries, and to provide further specificity, the “what” often includes:

Who

Identifies the individuals, groups, organizations or entities who will experience the change described; in other words, intermediaries or beneficiaries. For example: ministry of health, agricultural-extension workers, farmers, journalists, local communities, women, children, men, minorities.

Identifying the “who” helps to gauge how realistic the change is and makes it more specific.

Note that “including,” “specifically,” “especially” or “particularly” can be used to specify a specific group targeted within a large whole. For example: Increased access to public services for women, particularly marginalized ethnic minorities.

Where

The geographical location of the change being described. For example: community, country, region, village, etc.

Examples

Note: The “where” (or location), must be identified at the ultimate and intermediate outcome levels of the logic model. If the location is different at the immediate outcome level (e.g. specific village within the province or country identified in the ultimate or intermediate outcome) it should be included in the statement. If it is not different, or the location is implicit in the “who” it may be left out.

Output statements

A strong output statement starts with the product or service to be produced or delivered, and includes the topic or subject, a verb in the past tense, the target group and location (what in what for whom). In the context of Global Affairs Canada project or program logic models, outputs always describe the products or services provided by the implementer funded by Global Affairs Canada.

1st What

The product or service provided by the project implementer, and in what topic or subject.

2nd What

The “what” can be qualified (e.g., gender sensitive training delivered… or environmentally responsible disposal strategy developed, etc.)if it helps describe a minimum standard. This qualification should not be subjective (e.g., avoid “efficient process developed, or “user-friendly tools created”).Footnote 3

Verb

Use a verb in the past tense describing how the output was delivered.

For example: provided, delivered, completed, organized

Whom

The individuals, groups, organizations or entities to or for whom the output was produced or provided; in other words, intermediaries or beneficiaries.

Note that “specifically,” “especially” or “particularly” can be used to specify a selected group within a larger whole.

Where

The geographical location of the product or service being delivered or rendered. (See note above).

For example: community, country, region, village, etc.

Example

Pamphlet on maternal health-services produced for local women’s groups in village X.

Activity statements

A strong activity statement starts with a verb in the present tense, followed by what specific activity, in what topic or subject the implementer will perform, with or for whom and where.

Verb

A verb in the imperative mood describing the action to be taken.

For example: provide, train, produce, hire, prepare, develop, etc.

1st What & 2nd What

The activity being undertaken by the project implementer, and in what topic or subject.

Whom

The individuals, groups, organizations or entities for whom, or in cooperation with whom, the activity is undertaken; in other words, intermediaries or beneficiaries.

Note that “specifically,” “especially” or “particularly” can be used to specify a selected group within a large whole.

Where

The geographical location of the activity being described.

For example: community, country, region, village, etc.

Example

Conduct inclusive consultations on maternal health needs with local women’s groups and health service providers in village X.

Structural elements to avoid

Consequence or causal bridges

Terms such as “through,” “to,” “leading to” and “by” (also known as consequence or causal bridges) should NEVER be used when they indicate a causal relationship between phrases in an outcome statement, since it would generally indicate the existence of more than one result at multiple levels in one statement. NEVER include consequence bridges in an outcome statement. For example:

Coupling results

Conjunctions and semi-colons (“and,” “;”) should generally not be used. They often indicate the presence of two results (outcomes) in one statement.

However, two whats maywork in one result if they are experienced by the same who (intermediary or beneficiary) and supported by the same elements in the lower levels of the logic model. For example:

Examples of correct structures - outcomes, outputs and activity statements

Outcomes
DirectionWhatWhoWhere
Ultimate Outcome
Improvedhealthof womenin region Y, country X
Increasedenjoyment of human rightsby men, women and childrenin country X
Reducedvulnerability to food insecurityof conflict-affected women, men, girls and boysin country X
Enhancedeconomic empowermentof women and youthin selected rural communities of country Y
Intermediate Outcomes
Strengthenedrepresentation and participation in local decision-makingby women, ethnic minorities and disadvantaged populationsin country X
EnhancedprovisionFootnote 4 of health servicesby staff in regional clinics to men, women and childrenin region Z
Reducedweapons of mass destruction stockpilesby the governmentin country X
Increasedrespect for the rights of womenby the national governmentin country Y
Immediate Outcomes
Increasedknowledge of key social services, public policy and decision-making processesby community-based organizationin town X
Increasedawareness of availability of basic essential obstetric careby womenin province Y
Increasedability to identify and address security threatsby government Xin country X
Outcomes (alternative order)
DirectionWhatWhoWhatWhere
Ultimate Outcome
Increasedparticipationof ordinary citizensin politicsin country Z
Increasedaccessby civil societyto information and policy fora on government policy and decision-making related to environment and natural resourcesin country X
Intermediate Outcomes
Increasedabilityof health workersto address the nutrition challenges of women of reproductive age, newborns and children under age fivein country Z
Increasedabilityof female and male members of the community water-collectives in region Yto maintain wells(implied)
Improvedabilityof local health-centre male and female staffin gender-sensitive triage, diagnosis and primary healthcarein region Y
Outputs
WhatWhat subjectVerb (past tense)To or for whom
Technical assistanceon gender-responsive and environmentally sensitive project managementprovidedto regional government staff
Trainingon human rightsprovidedto selected women in refugee camp X
Trainingin gender-sensitive community-consultation and -participation mechanisms for policy planning and designprovidedto selected regional-government staff
Technical assistancefor the operationalization of regional planning centresprovidedto selected regional government staff
Pamphleton maternal-health servicesproducedfor local women's groups in village X
Outputs (alternative order)
WhatVerb (past tense)What subjectTo or for whom
Outreach meetingsconvened-with the communities at the grassroots level
Trainingprovidedon trade-negotiation techniquesto staff (f/m) in organization X
Activities - Example of activities for the following output: Pamphlet on maternal health-services produced for local women's groups in village X
VerbWhat / WhatFor WhomWhere
Conductinclusive consultations on maternal-health needswith local women’s-groups and health-service providersin village X
Providetechnical assistance on how to produce pamphletsto local print Micro Small and Medium Enterprisesin region Y
Printpamphlets--

Updated: July 2017
These tools will be updated annually as required. Enquiries or feedback on this tip sheet should be directed to: Results-Based Management Centre of Excellence, Operational Direction and Coherence, International Assistance Operations Bureau, Global Affairs Canada
Email: gar.rbm@international.gc.ca

Date Modified: