This paper draws on recent research and a workshop held at the Overseas Development Institute in April 2015. It outlines the growing and diverse ways in which Theory of Change approaches are understood. It takes the key findings of recent research a step further by outlining and justifying four key principles to guide the use of the Theory of Change approach, tied to a deeper analysis of the development sector.
The paper highlights throughout examples of the organizational use of Theories of Change, each of which attempts to go some way towards addressing the criticisms of the approach to date. It also analyses possibilities for taking these principles forward in light of the ‘results agenda.’