Linking outcomes, behaviours and influences in a theory of change

Defining the outcomes and indicators

To define the outcomes, you can present quite an open question to the stakeholders, for example: ‘write down / discuss what you think are the specific outcome(s) from [insert project]. Try to be as specific as possible – who will benefit, how, by when.

It is important that stakeholders agree on the outcomes for the project. Sometimes, this has been done prior to thinking about behaviour, but sometimes not.

For example, you might say that you want to reduce prescriptions for a specific antibiotic for a specific condition (outcome). So, you might suggest a point prevalence survey or other audit (indicator).

Defining who needs to change to reach the outcomes

When the outcomes are agreed, we then think about who needs to change to achieve the desired outcomes. Start by discussing who they are and what the context is.

Then work on specifying their behaviours using the defining behaviours section.

THET Change Exchange - Handouts - (2) Topic guide for exploring influences - thumbnail

Exploring the influences on the specific behaviours

You can learn more about the influences on behaviours in our elearning Exploring the influences on the specific behaviours. It could be that the project leads who are involved in defining the long-term outcomes don’t know what the influences are on specific behaviours. The guide to exploring influences will be helpful at this point, if you can access the people whose behaviour(s) need to change. If you can’t, make sure you explore influences in any training intervention (see ‘developing interventions’ section).

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