Theory of Change

The theory of change is a type of logic model that aims to make explicit the underlying theories, assumptions, and values of the program being evaluated. At the beginning of an evaluation, the underlying program theory often is not well understood, even by program developers, planners and implementers. Reflecting on the theory of change helps to clarify how the program is intended to work and where more evidence may be needed to understand how the program is really working (or not working). The DWP theory of change was developed collaboratively by staff members of DWP and the evaluation team. The DWP theory of change (see below) illustrates the activities of DWP on the left side which lead, in theory, to the outcomes/impacts through the potential mechanisms listed in the center ovals. The evaluation tests this theory. Additionally this evaluation is informed by a realist evaluation perspective and interrogates whether the context and hypothesized mechanisms lead to the intended outcomes in order to determine what about DWP is working for whom and under what circumstances. Potential evaluation questions and measures were derived out of the theory of change.

Theory of Change

 

Through interviews with clients and journaling by clients and caregivers/partners, we are analyzing what mechanisms are at play and what outcomes clients are reporting. The evaluation team also is conducting a realist synthesis around evidence either illuminating, supporting, or refuting the potential mechanisms.