Impact pathway evaluation: an approach for achieving and attributing impact in complex systems

Douthwaite, B., Kuby, T., van de Fliert, E. and Schulz, S. (2003) Impact pathway evaluation: an approach for achieving and attributing impact in complex systems. Agricultural Systems, 78 2: 243-265. doi:10.1016/S0308-521X(03)00128-8

Author Douthwaite, B.
Kuby, T.
van de Fliert, E.
Schulz, S.
Title Impact pathway evaluation: an approach for achieving and attributing impact in complex systems
Journal name Agricultural Systems   Check publisher's open access policy
ISSN 0308-521X
Publication date 2003
Sub-type Article (original research)
DOI 10.1016/S0308-521X(03)00128-8
Volume 78
Issue 2
Start page 243
End page 265
Total pages 23
Place of publication Oxford
Publisher Elsevier Sci Ltd
Language eng
Abstract Agricultural development is fundamentally a social process in which people construct solutions to their problems, often by modifying both new technologies and their own production systems to take advantage of new opportunities offered by the technologies. Hence, agricultural change is an immensely complex process, with a high degree of non-linearity. However, current 'best practice' economic evaluation methods commonly used in the CGIAR system ignore complexity. In this paper we develop a two-stage monitoring, evaluation and impact assessment approach called impact pathway evaluation. This approach is based on program-theory evaluation from the field of evaluation, and the experience of the German development organization GTZ (Deutsche Gesellschaft fur Technische Zusammenarbeit GmbH). In the first stage of this approach, a research project develops an impact pathway for itself. which is an explicit theory or model of how the project sees itself achieving impact. The project then uses the impact pathway to guide project management in complex environments. The impact pathway may evolve, based on learning over time. The second stage is an ex post impact assessment sometime after the project has finished, in which the project's wider benefits are independently assessed. The evaluator seeks to establish plausible links between the project outputs and developmental changes, such as poverty alleviation. We illustrate the usefulness of impact pathway evaluation through examples from Nigeria and Indonesia. (C) 2003 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
Keyword Agriculture, Multidisciplinary
impact assessment
participatory approaches
program theory
integrated natural resource management
integrated pest management
Q-Index Code C1
Q-Index Status Provisional Code
Institutional Status Unknown

Document type: Journal Article
Sub-type: Article (original research)
Collections: Excellence in Research Australia (ERA) - Collection
School of Communication and Arts Publications
Version Filter Type
Citation counts: TR Web of Science Citation Count  Cited 48 times in Thomson Reuters Web of Science Article | Citations
Scopus Citation Count Cited 61 times in Scopus Article | Citations
Google Scholar Search Google Scholar
Created: Wed, 17 Oct 2007, 12:21:32 EST