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Participatory Impact Pathways Analysis

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People act on the basis of their understanding of how the world works – their ‘theories of action’ (Argyris and Schön, 1974). We do X because we believe, based on past experience or what we've read, that Y will happen.

This applies to projects and programs as well. So it follows that if you can improve a project’s theories of action you can improve how people implement it (here we use project to mean both project and program). This has long been recognized by a particular branch of evaluation, called program theory evaluation, which describes projects’ theories of action in a ‘logic model’ and then evaluates the project using the model as a framework. Traditionally, logic models describes how project outputs are developed with, and used by, others to achieve chains of outcomes that contribute to eventual impact on social, environmental or economic conditions.

The Participatory Impact Pathways Analysis (PIPA) approach allows project staff and stakeholders to jointly describe the project’s theories of action and then develop a logic model. The term ‘impact pathways’ is synonymous with ‘theories of action’ and ‘program theory’. We use the term because it is more widely understood in agricultural research.

In this section, you will find all you need to know about 
the history and development of PIPA:

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