Does Your Implementation Fit Your Theory of Change?

Volume 33, 2018 – Special Issue of Canadian Evaluation Society

A brief review of evaluation findings in almost any given domain typically reveals that most and sometimes all major findings deal with the implementation of initiatives—also known as action theory. Moreover, the findings regarding implementation frequently allude to mismatches between the type or level of implementation occurring and the fundamental nature of the initiative. Case examples will illustrate that while all permutations and combinations of change and action theories cannot be summarily assessed, one can use case analysis to draw some lessons to suggest that some combinations are essentially toxic, while others provide at least a reasonable chance of success. The implication is that further systematic coding and analysis of change theories, action theories, and in particular their combinations in programs could produce useful insights for both evaluation and public-policy decision making.


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