(from the OM email list)
I am continually challenged with the organisations with whom I work to define the terms we will use. They are by and large Northern donors and their grantees – development NGOs and social change networks. I find that the meaning of outcome and impact (and output) varies considerably and sometimes the terms are used interchangeably. Thus, one of the biggest mistakes I can make is not to define the terms right from the start.
In a recent discussion titled Outcomes vs. Impact on the American Evaluation Association listserv EVALTALK, I shared a simple instrument that I use for developing common agreement about the definitions of outputs, outcomes and impact. It can be found at:
Hope it is helpful to some of you planners, monitors, evaluators and those who employ them.
If you are interested in the AEA EVALTALK listserv, subscribe at www.eval.org. To use the archives, go to this web site: http://bama.ua.edu/archives/evaltalk.html. Please note that the discussion I refer to will only be archived in September.
ricardo wilson-grau consulting
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