E Co. bites: How does the Theory of Change differ from the Logical Framework approach?

8 October 2020, Category: All insights, E Co. bites

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Speaker: Dr Grant Ballard-Tremeer

Question: How does the Theory of Change differ from the Logical Framework Approach?

You may think that a Theory of Change sounds quite similar to the “logical framework” approach. Both of these tools aim to convey the understanding of the logical strcture or cause and effect of interventions within a project or programme.

When we use the logical framework approach, however we’re mostly thinking about the structure of the project, and that is a linear structure. We can say, based on the logical framework that we expect that “if we do A, B and C (the project outputs, for example), then we’ll get result D (the project outcome).” For example, in an agricultural project if we raise awareness about alternative agricultural practices, and provide a supply of drought resistent seeds then farmers will start acting differently.

But a Theory of Change aims to go beyond that cause and effect structure. It is not just “if we do A, B and C, we’ll get result D” but “if we do A, B and C, we’ll get result D because”, for exampe “other similar projects have had proven results” or “research has shown that doing A, B and C results in D”, or “pilots conducted during project preparation showed an 85% uptake of improved practices”. In other words the Theory of Change focuses not just on what we expect to happen but why we think we will get those results.

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