Results-Based Management Tip Sheet 2.3 – Questions and Approaches for Theory of Change Clarification and Refinement

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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. It expands on the discussion of the theory of change, the logic model and the performance measurement framework in the How-to Guide and provides a reference tool that you can use in your day-to-day work.

This tip sheet provides questions, approaches and language that implementers and Global Affairs Canada staff can use to clarify and refine a theory of change, logic model and performance measurement framework.

Asking the following questions is one of the best ways to bring clarity to an unclear theory of change, logic model or performance measurement framework. In addition to questions, you can also take notes, draw pictures and post sticky notes on a wall to help establish clear, logical steps of an initial theory of change, which can then be developed into a logic model.

The Theory of Change:

Ultimate outcome:

Intermediate outcomes:

Immediate outcomes:



Other approaches for clarifying or refining the Theory of Change

Sometimes there is a discrepancy between what the design team wants to achieve (the change described in the outcome) and what they will be using (the indicator) to measure the change.

When you find a discrepancy, the following questions can help:

Depending on the answers to these questions, the indicator or the outcome statement—and perhaps even the theory of change—may need to be rethought.

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

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