RE: Can we use an evidence-based, evolving Theory of Change to achieve "local learning” during project design? | Eval Forward

Dear Colleagues,

I am happy that John has brought up ToC for discussion.  I often wondered why evaluations review/mention the ToC at the inception phase but seem to  ignore it during the analysis; seldom assess the validity or robustness of the ToC and the accompanying  assumptions. Instead, Evaluation focus on the OECD criteria and rarely have I seen the validity ToC addressed in evaluation reports, have you ?

I do not think that ToC are cast in stone hence I like to think that evaluations can/should show data that 1. confirm that the assumptions are valid 2. Prove or disprove that the expected outcome and results are realistic, 3. Identify which one will be realised and 4. for those that will not happen,  what can be done/changed in the intervention so that the results be achieved; else tell us what will happen if the intervention is carried on as is.

I would like to suggest an article from John Mayne who sadly passed away last December. In it, John discusses the criteria for a robust ToC and a tool for carrying out analysis of ToCs which he discusses in an  ex-ante or ex post setting. Please see

Kind regards,