This is a way of planning, monitoring and evaluating. It builds M&E into the design stage and is participatory. It zooms in on outcomes, one of the hardest phenomena to track or measure.
According to Research to Action (2012), there are usually three stages to Outcome Mapping:
- The (Intentional) Design Stage helps establish consensus on a project’s main intended changes. It helps answer four questions: Why? What is the vision to which the programme wants to contribute? Who? Who are the programme’s boundary partners?What? What are the tangible changes that are being sought? And How? How will the programme contribute to the change process among its boundary partners?
- The Outcome and Performance Monitoring stage provides data collection tools (mainly journals) for elements identified in the Intentional Design stage.
- Evaluation Planning helps the project identify evaluation priorities (more in-depth review of progress) and develop an evaluation plan that makes good use of resources.
Ultimately, while useful, outcome mapping is arguably quite a complicated approach. For this reason, this approach is not emphasised in this toolkit. Further details of the approach can nonetheless be found in our further reading section (see below) and in Outcome Mapping FAQs.
Going Further: Outcome Mapping
For useful and detailed accounts of outcome mapping see:
- Better evaluation
- Research into action
- Sarah Earl Outcome Mapping: Part 1; Part 2; Part 3
- Outcome Mapping FAQs.
- Outcome mapping: A method for tracking behavioural changes in development programs.
- Outcome mapping: Building learning and reflection into development programs
- Arnaldo Pellini (2011). The RAPID Outcome Mapping Approach and Project Management for Policy Change, ODI.
- Measuring well-being: a guide for practitioners