Lessons in Theory of Change: Monitoring, Learning and Evaluating Knowledge to Action
In 2010 the research theme on Knowledge to Action (K2A) at CGIAR Research Program on Climate Change, Agriculture and Food Security (CCAFS) developed a plan of work, using a log frame structure. Our objective was to explore and jointly apply approaches and methods that enhance K2A linkages with a wide range of partners at local, regional and global levels. Since then, the K2A theme has supported a variety of projects with the potential to catalyse action from research-generated knowledge. These projects were cutting edge; high risk but with potential for real impact should they succeed.
The success rate of individual projects was substantial.1 What we found as a research theme, however, was that mechanisms were not in place to scaleout from these initial, project-based successes. We attributed this to the absence of a clear pathway to impact. Impact pathways were inherent in our log frame approach. However, explicit “result chains” connecting research products to development outcomes and monitoring and evaluation (M&E) strategies were missing. In 2013, we converted our log frame into an impact pathway with accompanying theory of change (TOC). This allowed us to shift from a project orientation to a focus on behavioral outcomes.
This learning brief profiles the major lessons from the conversion of the log frame plan to an impact pathway and theory of change (TOC).
Jost, C.C.; Kristjanson, P.; Vervoort, J.; Alvarez, S.; Ferdous, N.; Förch, W. Lessons in Theory of Change: Monitoring, Learning and Evaluating Knowledge to Action. CGIAR Research Program on Climate Change, Agriculture and Food Security (CCAFS), Copenhagen, Denmark (2014) 6 pp.