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

Monalisa Salib

While over time theories of change have become synonymous with simple if/then statements, a strong theory of change should actually be a much more detailed, context-specific articulation of how we *theorize* change will happen under a program. Theories of change should articulate:

  • Outcomes: What is the change we are trying to achieve?
  • Entry points: Where is there momentum to create that change? 
  • Interventions: How will we achieve the change?
  • Assumptions: Why do we think this will work? 

This workbook helps stakeholders work through the process of developing strong theories of change that answers the above questions. Resources include the workbook in Google Doc format, Microsoft Word format (both English and Vietnamese), and an optional PowerPoint template that can be used and adjusted when facilitating the theory of change development process.


Theory of Change Model

A strong theory of change process leads to stronger theory of change products, which include: 

  • the theory of change narrative: a 1-3 page description of the context, entry points within the context to enable change to happen, ultimate outcomes that will result from interventions, and assumptions that must hold for the theory of change to work and 
  • a logic model: a visual representation of the theory of change narrative.

Teams should invest in a more robust and collaborative theory of change development process because it:

  • creates a shared understanding of the development challenge and how it can be addressed
  • sets direction towards a shared desired future state and clear measures of success
  • identifies interventions that are most likely to succeed based on the local context
  • brings local stakeholders into the process to establish local ownership 
  • results in stronger designs based on the above, and
  • can be used as a management tool during implementation to reflect on progress and adjust implementation accordingly.

This resource widely available under a creative commons license. If you use these materials, please credit the original source. Please follow this link for more information on the creative commons license.

This work is licensed under CC BY-NC 4.0 .

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