Contribution Analysis is an access for estimating causative questions and extrapolating causality in real-life program assestment. It provides a phase by phase treatment built to assist researchers, managers, decision makers and come-up with conclusions on the contribution that program they have built has made or is about to make to specific result. Contribution analysis’ core value is that it provides a method built to decrease unclarities and uncertainties about the reinforcement that the interference is attributing to the monitored outcome via the raised understanding of the reason of occurrence of the monitored outcome.
Contribution analysis is very useful particularly in positions where the project is not based on a trial but in position where the project has been financially backed due to precisely articulated theory of change but also in situation where little to non-scope for diversification of how this project is setup. Contribution analysis assists to validate or re-evaluate a theory of change; but that is not designed to unleash and show a to-date substance or complicated theory of change. Contribution analysis report should not be considered as unconditional proof, but instead should be considered as evidence and root of cause from which managers can extract a result that the project has added a significant contribution to the monitored outcome (Mayne J. 2008, p. 1-4).
Six important steps to create a powerful contribution analysis
Six important steps to create a powerful contribution analysis (Mayne, J. 2011, p. 8-25):
Determining the Attribution Problems State the precis questions that are being pointed out. It is worth to mention that not all type of cause-effect questions is serving to purpose. Contribution analysis is more suitable for questions like: Has the project impacted the monitored outcome? What is the reason why that particular result has occurred? Questions for the management: Is it comprehensible to come up with conclusion that the project has made an impact? What does the precedence of proof indicate how effective the project is making an impact?
Create a Theory of Change and Indicate Risks to It Built the project chain of logic and result that is explaining the project work flow. Spotting external factors are also crucial and can be counted accountable for the observed results. On that result, build the theory of change that is taking the project as base. The theory of change that has been built based on the project must lead to a reasonable correlation between project's activities and the outcomes that are in favor. This theory should also include the external factors that can or might influence the expected outcome.
Collect the Available Proof in the Theory of Change Firstly, it is always good practice to use previous project related evaluations or sort of researches that has been conducted to evaluate the current theory of change. What proof is available at the moment about the different results are appearing? Also, the connections that are mentioned in the theory of change must be to be evaluated. What proof that is available at the moment on the supposition and risks on these connections?
Piece Together and Evaluate the Contribution Story With the collection of the evidence's information, project managers now can build up the contribution story that emphasizes why assuming that actions that are taken on the project have impacted to the monitored results are reasonable. Now it is time to assess it: How convincing is the contribution story? Do other plausible managers agree on the contribution story? What are the week points of the contribution story?
Search for the Extra Proof Pointing out in where the story is less convincing, additional proof is now collected to enhance the proof on the outcomes have formed, level of rationality of the key assumptions but also the role of the external contributions and factors on the monitored outcomes.
Re-Evaluate and Enhance the Contribution Story In the light of additional evidences, company now is able to establish more trustful contribution story that a plausible person most likely can go along with. The contribution story will not be strongly unfalsifiable but additional proof will make the story comprehensive.
Contribution analysis provides the following benefits (Patton, M.Q. 2012, p. 374-376):
- Contribution analysis can enhance the envisioning and execution stage of an attempt by raising the stand for specifically pointed out planned theory of change, the results and actions to be taken to meet them.
- Gives a precise phase by phase guidance to assist managers and stakeholders that are related to the topic to evaluate the contribution to results.
- The contribution analysis is very useful in the case where the particular project has been financially backed up if this project has been already taken on the basis of the precisely and carefully structed theory of change.
- Mayne, J. (2008), Contribution analysis: An approach to exploring cause and effect, ILAC Brief 16
- Mayne, J. (2011), analysis: Addressing cause and effect, Final Draft, Ottawa
- Mayne, J. (2012), Contribution analysis: Coming of age?, SAGE
- Patton, M.Q. (2012), A utilization-focused approach to contribution analysis, Evaluation 18
- Yin, R. K. (2008), Case Study Research: Design and Methods, 4th Edition, Sage
Author: Iryna Vasilieva