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Theory of Change online course

Changeroo Tutorials

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Release log and Roadmap


Release log and roadmap for Changeroo.

Changeroo guiding content overview


An overview of all the guiding content within Changeroo.

Tutorial: Ways to share your Theory of Change


A tutorial on four different ways to share your ToC: 1) User role, 2) ShareLink, 3) Embed, and 4) Export.

Tutorial: Stakeholders


A tutorial on how to account for stakeholders in Changeroo and how to visualize stakeholders' roles.

Tutorial: Selection feature


A tutorial on the selection feature in Changeroo: to drag or copy multiple boxes simultaneously.

Developer instructions


Instructions for software developers on how to integrate Changeroo in their own software.

Tutorial: Grouping


A tutorial on grouping Changeroo: a visual aid to help you keep your Theory of Change organised.

Tutorial: Nested ToCs


A tutorial on nested Theories of Change in Changeroo.

Tutorial: Transfer a ToC


A tutorial on moving a ToC to another organisation account.

Tutorial: Active vs inactive ToCs


A tutorial on the difference between active and inactive Theories of Change in Changeroo.

Tutorial: Public vs private ToCs


A tutorial on the difference between public and private Theories of Change in Changeroo.

Tutorial: Share your ideas


A tutorial on how to share your feedback on Theories of Change within Changeroo.

Changeroo tutorial overview


An overview of all the tutorials within Changeroo.

Tutorial: User rights and inviting users to your ToC


A tutorial on how to manage user rights in Changeroo.

Tutorial: How to set up a new Theory of Change


A tutorial on how to set up a new Theory of Change in Changeroo.

Tutorial: Strategy narratives


A tutorial on strategy narratives in Changeroo.

Tutorial: Relationships


A tutorial on how to create relationships between blocks in Changeroo.

Tutorial: Adding boxes


A tutorial on how to add boxes in Changeroo.

Tutorial: How the menu works


A tutorial on how Changeroo's menu works (web app).

ToC Manuals: How to develop your ToC

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Hivos ToC Guidelines: Theory of Change thinking in practice

Marjan van Es, Irene Guijt and Isabel Vogel

One of the premier manuals on Theory of Change thinking. Available in English and Arabic.

How to facilitate a ToC process and help to develop ToC capacities?

Jan Brouwers and Simone van Vugt

This document provides practical suggestions with regard to what is required for a good ToC process, assessment of the type of ToC capacity that can be strengthened and what capacity is required to be a good facilitator.

USAID Theory of Change Workbook: A Step-by-Step Process for Developing or Strengthening Theories of Change

Monalisa Salib, USAID Learning Lab

The Theory of Change manual from USAID.

Using middle-level theory to improve programme and evaluation design

Nancy Cartwright, CEDIL

A good program ToC builds upon mid-level theories. This brief outlines ten steps for building and using middle-level theories.

Theory of Change in the context of Global Environment Facility


This primer provides a synthesis of guidance specifically aimed at carrying out Theory of Change in processes in a GEF context.

Theory of change in ten steps

James Noble

This guide is a ten step handbook to creating a theory of change, built on many years of developing them for charities and funders. It focusses on the basics, the core approach of NPC Consulting in the UK.

MDF Guide to Theory of Change

Niek Bakker

A full comprehensive guide on how to compose a ToC, with a practical example, all written in Dutch

La Theory of Change per la cooperazione internationale: Une guida introduttiva

Christian Elevati (Info-cooperazione)

A manual on Theory of Change development in Italian.

Six Theory of Change pitfalls to avoid

Matthew Forti

This article discusses six major pitfalls that, if avoided, can help create actionable Theories of Change.

How complicated does the (intervention) model have to be?

Jos Vaessen

How complicated should the program theory be? While there are no definitive comprehensive answers to this question, Jos Vaessen discusses a number of principles that can inform this issue in this blog post.

Using workshops to develop Theories of Change in five low and middle income countries: Lessons from the programme for improving mental health care (PRIME)

Erica Breuer et al.

This study describes the structure and facilitator's experiences of ToC workshops.

Developing your Theory of Change


This blog post discusses developing a ToC process and how it may seem overwhelming at first. But the most important step is to start by making your thoughts explicit about how your organization creates societal value.

How to develop a Theory of Change

DG Murray Trust

An instructional video taking you through some methodologies to develop a Theory of Change to guide the activities and evaluation of your social progamme/intervention.

Tools and methods for multi-stakeholder partnerships

Centre for Development Innovation

A collection of tools and methods that is useful for multi-stakeholder purposes.

Cartoons and images for use in ToC facilitation


Images and cartoons that can be used when facilitating a ToC process.

Developing Useful Theories of Change for Complex Settings

John Mayne

In this article, John Mayne walks us through some of the basic concepts and terms within ToC thinking, and addresses the key challenges for successful application of ToCs.

Using Theory Of Change in the development, implementation and evaluation of complex health interventions: A practical guide

Mary De Silva, Lucy Lee & Grace Ryan

This guide provides a practical overview of the process of developing a Theory of Change, focusing on using a stakeholder driven-workshop approach to achieve this. A ToC can support the development of interventions, bringing together key stakeholders

How to build a Theory of Change

NCVO Charities Evaluation Services

This blog post runs you through a clear step by step guide to developing a Theory of Change. It highlights the benefits of having one for planning purposes and also the need for including stakeholders when developing a Theory of Change.

Project Oracle: Children & youth evidence hub

Project Oracle Children and Youth Hub

Short guide for ToC development from project Oracle, which supports youth programmes in London.

Theory of Change: A practical tool for action, results and learning

Organizational Research Services for the Annie E. Casey Foundation

This manual, created for the Casey Foundation's Making Connections initiative, defines theory of change using Casey's impact, influence and leverage platform, and shows community advocates how to create their own ToC by showing the relationships.

The community builder's approach to theory of change: A practical guide to theory development

Anderson, Andrea (Aspen Institute)

This guide is for planners and evaluators who are going to facilitate a process for creating a theory of change with community based programs and community change initiatives.

Creating your Theory of Change: NPC’s practical guide

Ellen Harries, James Noble, Lindsay Hodgson (NPC)

This guide aims to help you through your theory of change process and support you to produce something that strengthens the design and delivery of your projects, and gives you confidence in your approach to evaluation and learning.

ESPA guide to working with Theory of Change for research projects

Isabel Vogel

This guide supports researchers who wish to work with a theory of change approach. Although written for Ecosystem Services for Poverty Alleviation (ESPA), it is also valuable to other research programmes that require a rigorous evaluation of impact.

Useful Theory of Change Models

John Mayne

This article outlines models for theories of change and their development that have proven quite useful for both straightforward and more complex interventions.

Theory-based methodology: Using theories of change for development, research and evaluation

Karen Laing and Liz Todd

This publication explains how Theory of Change can be used and discusses the opportunities and challenges it brings. It presents five illustrative case studies.

How to facilitate a ToC process?

Centre for Development Innovation

Facilitating a ToC process entails various elements. From our experience there are two elements we find essential: the facilitation process and ToC capacities. These two cannot be separated in the process.

Graphic facilitation

IDS: Institute of Development Studies

This IDS brief discusses graphic facilitation as part of intermediary facilitation processes and presents some useful visualisations to use.

Developing a Theory of Change for the Northern Mozambique Channel

Cordio East Africa

This document presents a simplified process for developing a Theory of Change. It was developed by and for a program in Northern Mozambique.

Developing a Theory of Change: A guide to developing a Theory of Change as a framework for inclusive dialogue, learning and accountability for social impact

IPAL - Keystone

This guide helps social purpose organisations to plan, monitor, evaluate and communicate their work in a way that makes practical sense of the complexity of social change processes and their measurement.

General ToC Resources

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Representing Theories of Change: Technical Challenges with Evaluation Consequences

Rick Davies

This paper looks at the description of connections between events rather than the events themselves, because this is seen as a widespread ToC design weakness. Using examples six structural problems are described. Different solutions are suggested.

Using theories of change in the CGIAR Research Program on Agriculture for Nutrition and Health

John Mayne & Nancy Johnson in Evaluation

The authors present a behaviour-based generic ToC model for both straightforward and more complex interventions. Examples are presented and the use of it during different stages of interventions are discussed.

Theories of Change in Reality: Strengths, Limitations and Future Directions

Andrew Koleros, Marie-Hélène Adrien, Tony Tyrrell (eds.)

Twenty six essays on Theory of Change, written from various perspectives by experts from the evaluation field.

Program logic foundations: Putting the logic back into program logic

Andrew J. Hawkins in Journal of MultiDisciplinary Evaluation

After reflecting on the shortcomings of ToC and program logic in practice, the author proposes Program Design Logic (PDL) as an accessible and incremental innovation that may be used to determine if a program makes sense 'on paper' and 'in reality'.

Theory of Change Analysis: Building Robust Theories of Change

J. Mayne

This article discusses criteria for robust theories of change and how these can be used to undertake a vigorous assessment of a Theory of Change.

Using actor-based theories of change to conduct robust evaluation in complex settings

Andrew Koleros & John Mayne

The authors demonstrate the use of nested actor-based ToCs, using the case of an impact evaluation of a complex police-reform program in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

Actor-based change (ABC) framework

A. Koleros, S. Mulkerne, M. Oldenbeuving & D. Stein

The Actor-Based Change (ABC) framework provides a pragmatic approach to Theory of Change development in complex contexts. Unique about this approach is its focus on actors within a system.

Towards appropriate mainstreaming of “Theory of Change” approaches into agricultural research for development: Challenges and opportunities

Yiheyis Taddele Maru et al.

Based on a literature review and expert interviews in the agricultural sector, this article reveals four challenges to mainstreaming ToC. Five recommendations arise to assist the mainstreaming.

Thinking big: How to use theory of change for systems change

R. Abercrombie, K. Boswell & R. Thomasoo (NPC)

This report 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.

The Advocacy Strategy Framework

Julia Coffman and Tanya Beer

A simple one-page tool for thinking about the Theories of Change that underlie public policy advocacy strategies.

Repères sur les théories du changement

Bruno de Reviers, F3E

Synthèse bibliographique réalisée dans le cadre du groupe de travail F3E COTA "Agir pour le changement".

The Water of Systems Change

J. Kania, M. Kramer & P. Senge (FSG)

Systems change entails a holistic perspective. The conditions holding a social or environmental problem in place exist at three levels, the explicit, semi-explicit and the implicit, all of which may need to be shifted.

Refining Theories of Change

Lovely Dhillon & Sara Vaca in Journal of MultiDisciplinary Evaluation

In this article the authors examine the elements that make up a ToC, how ToCs can be visualized, and how ToCs relate to other organizational tools. Several suggestions are put forward to strengthen the existing ToC practice.

Capturing Collaborative Challenges: Designing Complexity-Sensitive Theories of Change for Cross-Sector Partnerships

Rob van Tulder & Nienke Keen

The authors develop a framework to ensure alignment between the ToC of cross-sector partnerships and the complexity of the problems they aim to address.

Combining Outcome Mapping with Theory of Change tools to Improve the monitoring system of ADRRN

OM Learning Community

A poster from the Outcome Mapping (OM) Lab 2014 describing how Outcome Mapping is being used with Theory of Change to improve the design of a project developed with Logical Framework.

Towards a complexity-aware theory of change for participatory research programs working within agricultural innovation systems

Boru Douthwaite & Elizabeth Hoffecker

Despite a growing body of literature calling for more dynamic, flexible and “complexity-aware” approaches to monitoring and evaluation, few concrete examples exist of ToCs that take complexity dynamics within agriculture into account.

A three-fold theory of social change: Implications for practice, planning, monitoring and evaluation

Doug Reeler

This paper attempts to help read and thus navigate processes of social change. It reviews different theories of social change (emergent, transformative and projectable change) and seeks to bring them together into something that is more integrated.

Adapting Outcome Mapping and Theory of Change with sustainable forest NGOs in Papua New Guinea

Natalie Moxham

The paper describes the process of facilitating a set of workshops and the advantages and compromises needed in combining a ToC approach with Outcome Mapping.

The power of Theories of Change

Paul Brest

This brief reveals the need for Theories of Change in every aspect of a programme or project be it on poverty alleviation of disadvantaged people or teenage pregnancy prevention pogrammes.

Using Theory of Change to design and evaluate public health interventions: A systematic review

Erica Breuer et al.

This review aims to determine how ToCs have been developed and used in the development and evaluation of public health interventions globally. It proposes a checklist for reporting on the use of ToC to ensure transparent reporting.

Using a Theory of Change to drive human resource development for wraparound

Janet S. Walker & Marlene Matarese

This paper provides an illustration of how Theory of Change can provide a basis for a coherent and integrated approach to developing skills and capacities of staff implementing a project.

About Theory of Change: The heart and mind of social organisations


In this blog post, Theory of Change for learning is discussed; and how it offers social organisations a powerful basis for communication and stakeholder engagement.

UNICEF webinar: Theory of Change

Patricia Rogers, BetterEvaluation

In this webinar video, Patricia Rogers discusses Theory of Change, what it is and why it is important.

Why is a Theory of Change important?

DG Murray Trust

This video presentation by the South African organisation DG Murray Trust, explains the reasons why a Theory of Change is important for the design and evaluation of social programmes or interventions.

Peeling back the layers of the onion: Theories of Change, assumptions and evidence

Isabel Vogel

This blog post by Isabel Vogel compares working with assumptions with peeling back the layers of an onion.

University of Wisconsin on Logic models

University of Wisconsin

Logic Models are a popular tool that can be used to help conceptualize your change effort. This site by the University of Wisconsin presents a variety of resources on logic models.

The capabilities, opportunities, and motivation behaviour-based Theory of Change model

John Mayne

In this article, Mayne develops a typology and framework for behaviour change interventions.

Using programme theory to evaluate complicated and complex aspects of interventions

Patricia Rogers

This article proposes ways to use programme theory for evaluating aspects of programmes that are complicated or complex.

Theories of Change, by Beyond Intractability

Ilana Shapiro

An essay on Theory of Change on Beyond Intractability. This short essay provides a conceptual framework for articulating and mapping program’s theories of change, i.e. the core often implicit assumptions about how change happens.

Theory of Change for funders: Planning to make a difference

Angela Kail & Dawn Plimmer

Can a Theory of Change approach also be useful for funders themselves; and how does the tool differ in this setting?

How decision support systems can benefit from a Theory of Change approach

Will Allen, Jennifer Cruz and Bruce Warburton

Many managers do not have the tools to easily set out, document and communicate complex goals, activity strategies and intended outcomes. Developing a ToC can assist by supporting diverse stakeholders to work together and plan for outcomes.

Theory of Change: What’s it all about?


This document contains contributions by different authors. It provides an overview of Theory of Change - what they are, how and why they are developed.

Theory of Change: A guide for small and diaspora NGOs

Cathy James

This guide, written for small and diaspora organisations as part of the Common Ground Initiative Peer Learning Programme, aims to demystify theory of change and highlights a few useful resources for further exploration.

Having an adequate Theory of Change

Patricia Rogers

What if the ToC has gaps, leaves out important things – or is just plain wrong? This post looks at the risks when a ToC is inadequate.

Theory of Change: What is it? Why does it matter? How do I develop one?

Environmental Leadership Programme

A webinar presentation on Theory of Change on the what, why and hows. This event was organised by The Environmental Leadership Programme (ELP) as a way to share more value experience on the subject matter.

Citizen voice and state accountability: Towards Theories of Change that embrace contextual dynamics

Fletcher Tembo

This Working Paper provides a critical analysis of a series of CV&A cases from the Mwananchi Governance and Transparency Fund (GTF) programme in order to form an analytical framework for developing theories of change (ToCs) for CV&A projects.

Program theory and logic models for systematic evaluation

Patricia Rogers

This is a brief poster presentation by Patricia Rogers that highlights on aspects of Theory of Change to consider especially for evaluation purposes. It also offers discussions and recommendations that would be useful to adopt.

More about outcomes: Why they are important… and elusive!

Will Allen

This post looks more specifically at outcomes, and how they can be developed and written. It highlights the benefits of focusing on outcomes for project planning, implementation and evaluation.

Nesta: Guidance for developing a Theory of Change for your programme

Nesta: Centre for Social Action Innovation Fund (CSAIF)

A short guide on ToC development from Nesta's Centre for Social Action Innovation Fund (CSAIF).

Mapping change: Using a Theory of Change to guide planning and evaluation

Natasha Amott & Anne Mackinnon (Part of the GrantCraft series)

This brief guide explains why grantmakers use Theories of Change to guide their questioning, unearth assumptions that underlie their work, establish common language, and develop strong action plans.

Why people believe weird things

Michael Shermer

Why do people see the Virgin Mary on a cheese sandwich or hear demonic lyrics in "Stairway to Heaven"? Using video and music, skeptic Michael Shermer shows how we convince ourselves to believe — and overlook the facts.

Purposeful program theory: Effective use of Theories of Change and logic models

Sue C. Funnel & Patricia Rogers

A book that has been seminal to ToC practice. It has a wealth of clear examples and is very helpful in clarifying some recurrent debates on planning and M&E terminologies.

Theory of Change: A thinking and action approach to navigate in the complexity of social change processes

Iñigo Retolaza Eguren

This guide to understanding and developing a ToC shows how a ToC helps to configure the conditions needed to achieve desired change, using the experience of a given context. This is done partly by making assumptions explicit and by analysing them.

Scale, complexity and the representation of Theories of Change

Rick Davies

Two articles that look at a range of types of change processes and how they can be represented. It starts with linear processes and ends with network processes. The second article elaborates further on a network perspective.

Dealing with complexity: Theory of Change evaluation and the full service extended schools initiative

Alan Dyson and Liz Todd

This paper presents the case of capacity building within schools in England. It shows how a ToC approach can deal with complexity. Such involved fundamental shifts in what outcomes were valued and the roles of actors and evaluators.

Theories of Change: Time for a radical approach to learning in development

Craig Valters (ODI: Overseas Development Institute)

This paper argues that a Theory of Change approach demands a radical shift towards more and better learning in development thinking and practice. It draws on the research and workshop held at the Overseas Development Institute (ODI) in April 2015.

Review of the use of ‘Theory of Change’ in international development

Isabel Vogel (for DFID)

A review on ToC in practice based on interviews with staff from 25 different development organisations, nine donor agencies, seven international NGOs and nine research and training organisations.

Tana Guidance Note on Theory of Change

Tana Copenhagen

This note provides key tools and methodologies used in international development and humanitarian assistance. It provides a brief and practical introduction to theory of change which draws from experiences from other organisations.

Comic Relief: Theory of Change Review

Cathy James for Comic Relief

This report was commissioned by Comic Relief. It aims to draw together Comic Relief staff and partners’ experiences in using theory of change; to identify others in development that are using theory of change, to capture learning to promote debate.

Using a Theory of Scaling to Guide Decision Making

Seerp Wigboldus and Jan Brouwers

This booklet presents the notion of "theory of (responsible) scaling". By applying ToC thinking to scaling, the authors provide guidance to think systemically and systematically, at an early stage, about how scaling happens and could happen.

What is (good) program theory in international development?

Jos Vaessen

In this blog Jos Vaessen examines what makes a good (program) theory and distinguishes between three levels: simple successionist causation, successionist causation with warrants, and causation with warrants and causal assumptions.

Working with Assumptions in a Theory of Change Process

Irene Guijt

This report gives reflects on assumptions in a ToC process and offers practical pointers to identify the most critical ones.

What is the purpose of a Theory of Change?

Iñigo Retolaza Eguren

This article presents three generic, complementary purposes of ToCs.

Gender and Theories of Change

Anouka van Eerdewijk and Jan Brouwers for Hivos

A report on gender relations in ToC practice.

The Added Value of ToC

Irene Guijt and Iñigo Retolaza for Hivos

A report that seeks to define ToC.

Rigid plan or vague vision: Exploring the boundaries of ToC precision

Seerp Wigboldus & Jan Brouwers for Hivos

This report reflects on the desired level of detail of a ToC.

Theory of Change approach to climate change adaptation programming

Bours, McGinn, & Pringle, for SEA Change CoP, UKCIP

This document describes the Theory of Change approach and explains why it is a good fit for climate change adaptation programming. It highlights its differences with the more familiar logic model / logical framework (‘logframe’) approaches.

Working with useful theory of change

John Mayne

This working paper discusses a variety of concepts, approaches and tools for working with behaviour-based ToCs. It presents and discusses several different levels of detail for representing a ToC, including a new pathway-level ToC model.

An introduction to Theory of Change

Andrea Andersen from the Aspen Institute Roundtable on Community Change

The key message in this article is that individuals encountering a ToC for the first time should be open minded and should see the extent to which it can help them to be better strategic thinkers, and not think of it as only a planning tool.

Between logframes and the theory of change: Reviewing debates and a practical experience

Gerard Prinsen and Sandra Nijhof

This article reviews current debates around ToC and draws the conclusion that ToC can address shortcomings of the logical framework.

Visualising your theory of change: a must?

Esther Koopmanschap & Mirjam Schaap

This document focuses on the role of visualisation in the ToC process.

How to integrate gender analysis and planning in ToC thinking?

Hivos & Centre for Development Innovation

Gender inequality manifest itself through a complex web of forces, socially, culturally and historically entrenched in societies and relationships and cannot be changed by isolated interventions. Theory of Change thinking might be a helpful framework

Institutionalising gender equality

Caren Levy

This paper present thirteen elements to institutionalise gender, which can be used as a basis to develop a ToC that addresses gender changes.

Integrating gender change in Monitoring & Evaluation

Association for Women’s Rights in Development: Srilatha Batliwala & Alexandra Pittman

Two articles by Srilatha Batliwala on building a stronger M&E practice as a way to reach gender changes.

Key gender questions by Naila Kabeer

Naila Kabeer

A section from "Reversed realities" presenting key questions to integrate a gender perspective in your ToC.

UNIFEM: ToC and Gender Responsive Budgeting

United Nations Development Fund for Women

This case provides an illustration of a ToC for gender equality commitments.

Coffee toolkit: Sustainable coffee as a family business

Hivos, SCP, AgriProFocus, Fair & Sustainable, and IDH

This article/toolkit is especially relevant to gender analysis in ToC thinking. It presents a toolkit for the coffee industry.

What is the difference between Theory of Change (ToC), logframe and Theory of Action (ToA)?

Centre for Development Innovation

What is the link between Theory of Change and the logical framework way of thinking and approach? What is the difference with a Theory of Action?

What is the critique on ToC?

Centre for Development Innovation

In response to the growing interest in and demand for ToCs, critique is also emerging. A list of the most commonly heard critiques is presented below. The post also includes an article by G. Albert Ruesga that takes a critical look at ToC.

How can I recognize good quality ToC?

Hivos & Centre for Development Innovation

This post defines a number of elements to indicate the quality of ToC thought and practice. Quality is a combination of the content, how it was constructed and its use.

Using ToC for Learning

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The Hidden Life of Theory of Change

Wenny Ho, Margit van Wessel & Peter Tamas from Hivos

An end-term evaluation of the Citizen Agency Consortium. How does the way advocates strategize relate to formal ToCs, which often fix agreements rather than being used as a living, guiding tool that helps reflection and adaptation.

The truth of the work: Theories of Change in a changing world

Doug Reeler & Rubert Van Blerk (CDRA)

Critiques the existing ToC practice and its emphasis on accountability, control and compliance. It stresses the notion of a ToC as a collaborative learning process and how a good theory for human change processes is as much art as it is science.

Who owns the Theory of Change?

Helen Sullivan & Murray Stewart

Does "total ownership" from different stakeholders involved in agreeing, developing and monitoring a ToC lead to ownership and attribution?

The added value of Theory of Change: How Changeroo lifts societal value creation strategies to greater levels


In this post we discuss how Theory of Change (ToC) thinking in general and Changeroo specifically can be of great value to organisations. We discuss the different functions of Changeroo and how these help organisations in realizing their mission.

Nexii Webinar series 2012-Theory of Change Fundamentals

David Colby

In the webinar session, David Colby provides an insightful overview of Theory of Change methodology, and highlights the strengths of using such a tool for planning, strategy, organisational learning and evaluation.

Defining Theories of Change

CARE International UK

This is a review of three conflict affected countries using theories of change. It found out that the process of articulating and reviewing theories of change adds rigour and transparency, clarifies project logic, and highlights assumptions.

Learning about Theories of Change for the monitoring and evaluation of research uptake

C. Barnett & R. Gregorowski (IDS)

This practice paper captures lessons from recent experiences on using 'Theories of Change' amongst organisations involved in the research-policy interface. The paper argues that Theory of Change will be inadequate in the context of complexity.

Understanding Theory of Change in international development: A review of existing knowledge

Danielle Stein & Craig Valters

This paper reviews the concepts and common debates within the Theory of Change literature, resulting from a detailed analysis of available donor, agency and expert guidance documents. The authors followed up this review with fieldwork.

Local NGOs and their contribution to social change in Latin America: Paradoxes and contradictions

Iñigo Retolaza and Paola Rozo

Hivos embarked on a process of action-oriented learning rethink and critically reflect on how to understand and accompany social organizations and local NGOs to develop social change in the South.

If using ‘Theories of Change’ cannot transform the way you operate, why bother?

Suvojit Chattopadhyay, World Bank

Building on "Theories of Change: time for a radical approach to learning in development", this World Bank blog post shares additional thoughts on the use of ToCs and how they might be improved.

Putting learning at the centre: Adaptive development programming in practice

Craig Valters, Clare Cummings, and Hamish Nixon

This paper critically engages with the problem that much development thinking remains stuck in a linear planning model and makes clear why and how learning needs to be at the centre of adaptive development programming.

Capacities for Doing and Thinking ToC in Development Organisations

Sue Soal for Hivos

A reflection on the necessary capacities for ToC doing and thinking.

Feminist Movement Building JASS

Just Associates

A case study of how JASS seeks to integrate learning in its Theory of Change.

Process Oriented Theory of Change Facilitation: Surfing the Wave of Complexity

Iñigo Retolaza Eguren

This paper explores the relationship between complexity thinking, group process facilitation, and the use of Theory of Change. It suggests certain premises and metaskills we should always consider when facilitating ToC and complex group processes.

The web of institutionalisation: Assessing Uptake of ToC Thinking in Hivos


This document applies the institutionalisation elements identified by Levy (1996), as part of the internal assessment by development organisation Hivos of the institutionalisation of Theory of Change thinking in their organisation.

ToC for Planning, Monitoring and Evaluation

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Making causal claims (ILAC Brief 26)

John Mayne

This ILAC Brief argues to look at causality as interventions that are contributory causes to certain results. ToCs show such contributory mechanisms. Combined with other methods, they explain how and why an intervention makes a difference.

Causal Chain Analysis in Systematic Reviews of International Development Interventions

Dylan Kneale et al.

Explores the application of causal chain analysis for systemic reviews. Includes an account of the causal nature of the connecting relationships in a ToC. Evidence synthesis techniques are discussed in the context of causal chain analysis.

Developing a theory of change, outcome measures and evaluation design for an evaluation of the impact of the Daily Mile on obesity and health: project report

Judith Green, Benjamin Hanckel & Janet Peacock (King’s College London)

An evaluation of the impact of The Daily Mile: a scheme in which children run/walk for 15 minutes a day, in curriculum time.

A refined method for theory-based evaluation of the societal impacts of research

Brian M. Belcher, Rachel Claus, Rachel Davel, Luisa F. Ramirez

The paper offers step-by-step guidance on application of the Outcome Evaluation approach, detailing how to: document a Theory of Change; determine data needs and sources; collect data; manage and analyze data; and present findings.

Evaluative tools in impact investing: Three case studies on the use of theories of change

Noel B. Verrinder, Kagiso Zwane, Debby Nixon, Sara Vaca

The authors look at three case studies of how ToCs help impact investing move forward.

Canadian Journal of Program Evaluation Special Issue

S. Montague, A. Koleros, J. Mayne, G. Freer, S. Lemire, J. Whynot, C. Mavriplis, A. Farenhorst, E. Langelier, T. Franz-Odendaal, L. Shannon, S. Sridharan, A. Nakaima, C.A. Christie

A special issue of the journal of the Canadian Evaluation Society, focusing on ToCs in relationship to evaluation.

Six Models for Understanding Impact

Liz Ruedy

Evaluating systems change is HARD. But impact models can be an enormously powerful tool to help philanthropy make sense of data, develop strategies, and communicate their theory of change more clearly.

Design, monitoring and evaluation of a direct payments approach for an ecotourism strategy to reduce illegal hunting and trade of wildlife in Lao PDR

P.F. Eshoo, A. Johnson, S. Duangdala & T. Hansel (PLoS ONE)

A case about an evaluation study looking at ecotourism as a strategy for achieving biodiversity conservation.

Using theory of change to design and evaluate public health interventions: A systematic review

Erica Breuer, Lucy Lee, Mary De Silva & Crick Lund, in Implementation Science

This review aims to determine how ToCs have been developed and used in the development and evaluation of public health interventions globally.

Outcome evidencing: A Method for enabling and evaluating Program intervention in complex systems

R. Paz-Ybarnegaray & B. Douthwaite

This article describes the development and use of a rapid evaluation approach to meet program accountability and learning requirements in a research for development program operating in five developing countries.

Evaluating complex interventions: A theory-driven realist-informed approach

Douthwaite, Mayne, McDougall & Paz-Ybarnegaray

This article describes the development of a complexity-aware evaluation approach in the CGIAR Research Program on Aquatic Agricultural Systems.

Theory-based approaches to evaluation: Concepts and practices

Treasury Board of Canada

This document introduces some of the key concepts of theory-based approaches to evaluation.

Theories of Change and realistic evaluation: Peas in a pod or apples and oranges?

A. Blamey & M. Mackenzie

In this article the authors look at the points of connection and digression between Theories of Change and Realistic Evaluation. They discuss the importance of a contextualized perspective in evaluation.

You can get there from here: Using a Theory of Change approach to plan urban education reform

James Connell & Adena Klem

This article presents a Theory of Change approach to planning educational reform initiatives with a focus on district level efforts.

Getting beneath the surface in program planning, monitoring and evaluation: Learning from use of Participatory Action Research and Theory of Change in the CGIAR Research Program on Aquatic Agricultural Systems

J. Marina Apgar et al.

This research paper shares learning from an agricultural research program that used participatory action research and Theory of Change to foster complexity-aware approaches to planning, monitoring and evaluating.

Measuring your Social Impact: Theory of Change

Social Investment Business and Good Analyst

The Theory of Change forms the backbone of any social impact measurement system. It links the day to day activities in your organisation to your overall mission or long term goals. This is a key step in deciding what you will need to measure.

Theory of Change: Monitoring and evaluation

Research to Action (R2A)

A podcast on how your Theory of Change can be adapted into an effective means of monitoring and evaluating your success.

Impact measurement in impact investing

Eibhlín Ní Ógáin

This paper presents practical experience of implementing impact measurement within an impact investing context. It highlights case studies where investments have carried out evaluations and lessons learnt.

Theory-based stakeholder evaluation

Morten Balle Hansen & Evert Vedung

This article introduces theory-based stakeholder evaluation. Especially in evaluations of complex and complicated multilevel and multisite interventions, the presence of competing theories is likely and the this method may prove useful.

Practical approaches to Theories of Change in conflict, security, and justice programmes: Using Theories of Change in monitoring and evaluation

Vanessa Corlazzoli & Jonathan White (Search for Common Ground)

This is a two-part series on practical approaches to theories of change in conflict, security and justice programmes.

CLEAR M&E roundtable series: Theory of Change

CLEAR South Asia

This roundtable was the second in a series of M&E roundtables organised by CLEAR South Asia on Best Practices in Data Collection. It provided an introduction to of experimental evaluation and quasi-experimental methods.

Theory-based impact evaluation: Principles and practice (3ie Working Paper)

Howard White (3ie)

This paper identifies six principles for the successful application of a theory-based approach to impact evaluation.

Making evaluations matter: A practical guide for evaluators

Cecile Kusters with Simone van Vugt, Seerp Wigboldus, Bob Williams and Jim Woodhill

This guide attempts to provide an overall framework with guiding principles for conducting an evaluation. The guide draws heavily on the experiences of the Centre for Development Innovation, particularly with its work around ‘managing for impact’.

Advocacy for Development: Effectiveness, Monitoring and Evaluation

Jennifer B. Barrett, Margit Van Wessel & Thea Hilhorst

This book makes available for practice the most important lessons from the evaluation of eight 'lobbying and advocacy' programs carried out over the past five years by alliances of civil society organisations working in international development.

UNICEF Methodological briefs. Impact evaluation No. 2: Theory of Change

Patricia Rogers

Recognizing the importance of impact evaluation to UNICEF's work, the Office of Research - Innocenti, developed a methodological brief on ToC.

How can ToC thinking help in programme design and planning?

Centre for Development Innovation

In this section, you will find some information on how ToC can be used to design and develop effective strategies. It deals with ToC and Programme Design: Building the foundation for strategic choices, planning, monitoring, evaluation and learning.

How can ToC thinking help in monitoring and evaluation?

Centre for Development Innovation

The ToC will assist you to have clarity on your outcome chain(s) and explains which strategies have been selected, why this set of strategies and not other strategies, and how they are expected to unfold.

Which links in which theories shall we evaluate?

Carol Weiss in New Directions for Evaluation

This article addresses the question how to put a theory-based evaluation approach into practice.

Evaluating policy-relevant research: Lessons from a series of theory-based outcomes assessments

Brian Belcher, Daniel Suryadarma and Aidy Halimanjaya, Palgrave Communications

This paper presents and assesses the use of theory-based research evaluation by comparing, contrasting and assessing completed evaluations that explicitly tested ToCs in four research-for-development projects. It presents lessons learned.

Case Studies

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Causal analysis with working children, the CLARISSA experience


This case study tackles child labor has affected children actively participating in ToC development processes. The ToC processes effectively become part of the intervention.

Leading inter- and transdisciplinary research: Lessons from applying theories of change to a strategic research program

Lisa Deutsch et al. in Environmental Science and Policy

This article reports challenges and lessons learned to develop and use ToCs in inter- and transdisciplinary research programs. It builds on the experience of the Wings research program (Water and sanitation innovations for non-grid solutions).

Developing and testing a theory of change for Boy Scouts of America

Jennifer Brown Urban et al.

This presents the development of a ToC for youth development and adult volunteer leader development by the Boy Scouts of America. The research used expert input, visualization, focus groups, practice mapping, literature review, and evidence mapping.

Combining the theory of change and realist evaluation approaches to elicit an initial program theory of the MomConnect program in South Africa

Eveline M Kabongo et al.

In South Africa 2014, the MomConnect program was launched to strengthen the quality of maternal and child health services. This study aimed to unearth the underlying ToC and combined this with realist evaluation to unearth the underlying mechanisms.

The culture of continuous learning project: Theory of Change

Anne Douglass, Tamara Halle & Kathryn Tout

Explaining the ToC of the "Culture of Continuous Learning Project", which focuses on quality improvements in early care and education programs in the US.

Developing a Theory of Change model of service user and caregiver involvement in mental health system strengthening in primary health care in rural Ethiopia

Sisay Abayneh et al. in International Journal of Mental Health Systems

This paper describes the development of a ToC model for service user and caregiver involvement in a primary mental health care in rural Ethiopia.

A Theory of Change on Child Marriage

Girls Not Brides

Girls Not Brides has developed a ‘Theory of Change on Child Marriage’, a visual diagram that demonstrates the range of approaches needed to address child marriage and how they intersect.

Example Logic Models and Theories of Change for Youth Mentoring Programs

National Mentoring Resource Center

A collection of examples of logic models and ToCs for several types of youth mentoring programs. The examples in this typology, while not completely comprehensive, encompass the vast majority of program types operating in the youth mentoring field.

Gendered voices for climate action, a theory of change for the meaningful inclusion of local experiences in decision-making

Susannah Fisher, Clare Shakya

The authors develop a ToC for how the systematic inclusion of women and men with lived experiences of climate change could strengthen climate action.

A theory of change for community interventions to prevent domestic violence against women and girls in Mumbai, India

Nayreen Daruwalla, Surinder Jaswal, Prakash Fernandes, Preethi Pinto, Ketaki Hate, Gauri Ambavkar, Bhaskar Kakad, Lu Gram, David Osrin

The article presents a detailed description how a ToC was developed for community mobilisation activities to prevent violence against women and girls.

Ending AIDS among people who use drugs: Our theory of change

Susie McLean

A report on the Theory of Change of the International HIV/AIDS Alliance.

Wegen naar werk voor statushouders: Onderzoeksaanpak naar wat werkt en waarom op basis van Theory of Change

Kirsten Tinnemans & Monique Stavenuiter (Kennisplatform Integratie & Samenleving)

A report in Dutch in which Theory of Change is used to evaluate two programs on work placement of status holders (refugees, immigrants).

RSPO’s Roadmap Towards Sustainable Palm Oil

Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil

The key strategies and activities RSPO will implement, together with the support of stakeholders to transform the palm oil sector.

Food for Life Vrindavan (FFLV) Theory of Change


A case study detailing the Theory of Change of Food for Life Vrindavan (FFLV) in India. FFLV runs three schools providing free education, meals, skill training and medical help to over 1400 underprivileged girls in Vrindavan, India.

Theories of Change for promoting empowerment and accountability in fragile and conflict-affected settings

Duncan Green

Most literature on “empowerment and accountability in fragile, conflict and violence affected settings” has been on Theory of Action. These are often confusingly termed ‘theories of change’. A clear distinction and more attention for ToCs are needed.

Why Theories of Change matter

Mark Connolly & Elaine Seymour

In this paper, the authors review Theories of Change used in efforts to improve quality and access in STEM education.

Using a theory driven approach to develop and evaluate a complex mental health intervention: The friendship bench project in Zimbabwe

Dixon Chibanda et al.

This article describes the use of a Theory of Change (ToC) model to develop a brief psychological intervention for common mental disorders and its’ evaluation through a cluster randomized controlled trial in Zimbabwe.

LIFT: Using client feedback to test Theory of Change

Keystone Accountability

A case study of a US nonprofit organisation that used client feedback to test its Theory of Change.

Evidence to support Theories of Change for GROWs business plan

Jo Barraket, Andrew Joyce & Emily Foenander

This report explains the logic that underpins the Theory of Change for GROW and then presents an evidence review relevant to the assumptions embedded within it. GROW is an Australian organisation addressing disadvantage through employment.

Review of the Theory of Change of the Rural Access Programme

Rural Access Programme (RAP-3)

The purpose of the review of the Rural Access Programme 3 (RAP-3) Theory of Change was to provide an opportunity for stakeholders to reflect and critically review the programme from a holistic perspective.

Dorcas its Theory of Change

Dorcas International

An animation video by Dorcas International of its Theory of Change. Dorcas is an organisation that is aimed at creating sustainable change by addressing poverty at three different levels - individual, community and governmental levels.

Using Theory of Change for monitoring, learning and evaluation

Andrew Koleros, GRM International

This presentation highlights GRM's experiences using Theories of Change in its analytic framework for evaluation.

A Theory of Change for tackling violence against women and girls

Kate Bishop & Kathryn Lockett (CHASE)

This reports presents a Theory of Change to end gender-based violence against women and girls. It outlines seven principles underlying the ToC diagram. It details evidence and provides example indicators.

Building adult capabilities to improve child outcomes: A Theory of Change

Jane Ellen Stevens, Harvard University Centre on the Developing Child

This 5-minute video from the Center on the Developing Child at Harvard University depicts a theory of change from the Frontiers of Innovation community for achieving breakthrough outcomes for vulnerable children and families.

Hivos and Theory of Change: Experiences and lessons of the first phase 2007-2010

Marjan van Es (Hivos)

This short case explain the process Hivos went through as it moved from the 'standard' planning and reporting frameworks to ToC thinking. Available in English and Spanish.

Making markets work for the poor: How the Bill and Melinda Gates foundation uses program related investments

Paul Brest, David Bank and Dennis Price

This report looks at program-related investments at the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. It mentions the role ToCs play in this process.

Theories of Change in international development: Communication, learning or accountability?

Craig Valters

A research paper that discusses how The Asia Foundation uses ToC in its organisation. In a blog post the author summarizes the 6 key findings of his research and paper.

Decent work for women Women@Work


A visualisation of Women@Work its ToC.

Creating Change in Agricultural Networks – AgriProFocus


A visualisation of AgriProFocus its ToC.

Citizen Agency in East Africa Twaweza


A case study of Twaweza, which seeks to enable people in Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda to improve their quality of life through a citizen-centred approach to development and public accountability.

Hivos Green Entrepreneurship 2013


A case study of the Hivos Green Entrepreneurship Programme.

Theory of Change: A theory-driven approach to enhance the medical research council’s framework for complex intervention

De Silva et al. in Trials

The article proposes a theory-driven approach to the design and evaluation of complex interventions by adapting and integrating a programmatic design and evaluation tool, Theory of Change (ToC), into the medical framework for complex interventions.