Many evaluations include a process of developing logic models and theories of change – an explanation of how the activities of a program, project, policy, network or event are expected to contribute to particular results in the short-term and longer-term. They have been used for many years – versions can be seen in Carol Weiss’ 1972 book “Evaluation research: methods for assessing program effectiveness” – and they have been mainstreamed in many organisations as an essential component of planning and evaluation under various labels, including program theory, programme theory, intervention logic, investment logic, outcomes hierarchy. However, their full potential is often not met, as many people seem to think that the basic version they know is all there is, even when it doesn’t really meet their needs.
BetterEvaluation.org have grouped resources together under some of the common challenge areas people have with theory of change: explore them on this page.
For a whole blog post clarifying the distinction between a Logic Model and a Theory Of Change, look no further! Check this out: https://www.annmurraybrown.com/single-post/2016/03/20/Theory-of-Change-vsThe-Logic-Model-Never-Be-Confused-Again
For logic models in a health context (but that applies more widely), with links to further resources, the Public Health England page: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/evaluation-in-health-and-well-being-overview/introduction-to-logic-models
Strategy Unit briefing on using logic models in evaluation (20 pages) with a very handy list of questions to ask under “key points for reflection” in appendix 2: https://www.strategyunitwm.nhs.uk/sites/default/files/2017-09/Using%20Logic%20Models%20in%20Evaluation-%20Jul16.pdf
A visually appealing and easy to follow guide to using logic models including theory and practice, to help you build your own. https://www.midlandsandlancashirecsu.nhs.uk/images/Logic_Model_Guide_AGA_2262_ARTWORK_FINAL_07.09.16_1.pdf
Thinking big: How to use theory of change for systems change
This report by NPC and Lankelly Chase identifies five common pitfalls that organisations fall into when using theory of change, and walks through five rules of thumb that will help organisations to use the approach to tackle complex problems. Access it here.
Make sure you also check out the related resources on systems change and theory of change.
Theory of change
A webpage with links to a number of other pages that provide articles on ToC and examples of different iterations of types of theory used.