Change Pathway (or Impact Chain)

Alternatively, you can develop a change pathway identifying your aims/ impacts on people’s lives; the objectives/ outcomes (or changes needed to achieve those aims), the activities required to achieve those objectives and the assumptions underpinning this change pathway. For a particularly useful change pathway approach, see Cambridge University’s M&E study.

This approach requires you to work out what you are trying to achieve, specifically your:

Goal (or Desired Impact)

What impact do we want to have on people’s lives or the environment? E.g., reduction in gender abuse, reduced waste/ carbon emissions.

Outcomes (Desired)

What changes do we need to have made to secure this goal? E.g. increased awareness of gender awareness locally, more sustainable practices adopted by local farmers and industries.


What project/ programme activities do we need to undertake to secure our objectives/ outcomes? E.g. gender training programmes, waste reduction schemes.


What are our key assumptions about how we will achieve our desired changes/ goal? E.g. village will remain free from conflict throughout the lifetime of the project, local government policies will either support or at least not work against our project goal…

Going Further

Centre for Evaluation Innovation (2013), Pathways for Change

Beam Exchange (2019), Articulating a Results Chain

Where to next?

Click here to return to the top of the page, here to go on to explore another planning and evaluation tool, outcome mapping and here to go to Traditional Tools (Theory of Change).