This cluster of evaluation tasks develops an initial description of the program and how it is understood to work. This can be used to:

  • engage stakeholders in the task “understand and engage stakeholders” from the ‘Manage‘ cluster of tasks
  • guide choices about what data to collect in the ‘Describe‘ cluster of tasks
  • inform testing of causal links when planning how to ‘Understand Causes


There are three tasks involved in developing an initial program description and how it is understood to work:

  1. Develop an initial description

Developing an initial description of the project/program/policy.

  1. Develop program theory/logic model

It is usually helpful to illustrate how your project/program/policy is understood to work by developing a causal model that links activities with intended outcomes. You can then use the program theory or logic model to inform monitoring and evaluation planning.

  1. Identify potential unintended results

It is useful to think about possible negative impacts (that make things worse not better) and how they can be identified before a program is implemented.

Define. (n.d.). Retrieved January 26, 2017, from