Module 2: Developing a theory of systemic change
Using a logframe with the theory of change
A logframe is a matrix which illustrates the key outputs, outcomes and impact for the programme in the form of a table. It provides an overall summary of the programme in a single diagram, and as such needs to reflect the programme's theory of change. Donors typically require logframes to be defined as part of their contract with implementing organisations.
While a logframe is a useful tool to define what a programme sets out to deliver, there is a potential risk that it becomes rigid and limits the ability of a programme to plan interventions in a flexible and adaptive way. Where significant uncertainty is expected (i.e. with most, if not all market systems programmes), it is important to make sure that the potential implications of applying the logframe too rigidly are discussed between the programme and the donor.
The distinction between a logframe and a results chain
Logframes and results chains are very similar and both are important in developing a monitoring framework for a market systems programme. The differences between these tools, as described in this guidance, can be summarised as follows:
The logframe is presented as a table which:
- Reflects the programme level theory of change without going into the fine details of intervention logics
- Is part of the contractual arrangements with donors. It is updated, at most, on an annual basis, reflecting the need for contractual stability and the requirement to have a clear outline of what has been agreed
Results chains are presented as a diagram which:
- Reflect intervention logics, particularly current hypotheses and understanding of how things are supposed to work out at the intervention level
- Are flexible and may need to be revised frequently in response to emerging findings about what is happening in the market system
- Are required for internal programme management (by highlighting activities and who does what in detail), and for monitoring and learning teams
The use of results chains in monitoring the performance of individual interventions is discussed further in Module 3.