Academic references to outcomes theory: Duignan (2009d; 2009a; 2008d; 2008b; 2004a)*
The basic building-blocks of all outcomes systems
There are seven building-blocks of any type of outcomes system (i.e. a strategy, performance management, impact evaluation, delegation/contracting system) used by anyone, for any purpose, within any sector. Building-blocks one to six can also be used to describe the six types of evidence that you can offer if you are trying to establish that a program 'works'.
Details of each of the seven building-blocks
2. Showing that you've made some stuff happen (that which you control)You can show that you have improved controllable indicators just by measuring them. But these will usually be at a lower output-type rather than outcomes-type level, although can sometimes be above the output level. more
1. Outcomes model showing line-of-sight between priority outcomes & activitiesShow the logic of how your program will work by setting out high-level outcomes and steps in an outcomes mode.Then use the model to prove that your activity is focused on your priorities. more
3. Showing if high-level outcomes are getting better
You should be able to show if things are getting better, but for outcomes you don't control, just measuring them doesn't prove that you improved them. more
5. Showing if IMPACT evaluation, attempting to establish attribution, is appropriate, feasible, affordable & credibleThis type of evaluation is centrally focused on attempting to make a claim about what causes high-level outcomes (attribution). more
4. Showing what NON-IMPACT evaluation we can do to optimize our program
You should only promise to look into what impact assessment is possible, never that you can definitely do robust impact evaluation before you have carefully assessed what's possible. more
6. Showing how your results compare with others, or expressing them in the common metric of dollarsThis shows how you are going compared to others. It includes benchmarking of various sorts and cost-effectivenss and cost-benefit analyses. more
Using Duignan's Outcomes System Diagram to build, or fix, any type of outcomes systemDuignan's Diagram can be used to set up any type of outcomes system. It can also be used to diagnose and fix problems with existing outcomes systems. Just identify which building-blocks do not currently exist in the system and add them to it. more
7. Showing accountability, performance management & contracting arrangementsWhat you are going to be held accountable (rewarded or punished) for. more
Using Duignan's Diagram to describe the 6 types of evidence that a program 'works'The first six building-blocks in Duignan's Diagram can also be used to describe the six possible types of evidence which can be offered when attempting to establish that a program 'works'. more
* These particular references can be cited to refer to the material on this page.