This page gives a brief introduction to the Outcome Mapping evaluation approach, with links to the Outcome Mapping manual, the Outcome Mapping Learning community and some introductory presentations and videos. More resources on outcome mapping can be found in the Outcome Mapping section on Mesh.
Outcome Mapping is a monitoring and evaluation approach that seeks to understand how a project has contributed to changes in relationships, practices and actions of the stakeholders and partners that the project directly influences. Many people find this focus on changes in people affected by a project or programme more concrete and easier to grasp than the more abstract and disembodied outputs and outcomes of logical framework approaches.
Outcome mapping is a participatory approach to planning, monitoring and evaluation where stakeholders and partners are involved in dialogue about progress overall and define the changes expected from a project and the progress markers that illustrate these changes. The approach is particularly useful for evaluation of projects involving multiple stakeholders with changing relationships over time.
Outcome mapping recognises that there are many factors outside of a project’s control that may have a bearing on its progress and seeks to understand the contribution the project has made to change, rather than attempting to claim definitive attribution of changes. It supports ongoing reflection and learning and recognition that the environment in which the project is taking place may also change over time in a way that the project may need to respond to. For this reason it does not employ a fixed set of indicators decided at the start of a project. It still aims to be clear about the kinds of changes to be tracked at the outset, but recognises that these may change over the course of the project.
One of the developers of Outcome Mapping, Sarah Earl introduces the approach in a number of short films on YouTube:
Caption: This is Part 1 of Sarah Earl's General Introduction (10 minutes) and covers some of the key ideas underpinning outcome mapping and basics of the approach. Part 2 (7.5 minutes) covers the idea of ‘Boundary partners’ – the people directly affected by the project and Progress marker. Part 3 (5 minutes) addresses issues and chalanges of the model including baseline issues, situational analysis, data overload. Credit: Sarah Earl.
Simon Hearn who is the facilitator of the Outcome Mapping Learning Community has produced a longer but slightly more comprehensive video on the model:
Caption: Introduction to Outcome Mapping Webinar (1.5 hours) with Simon Hearn. Credit: Simon Hearn.
Other Introductions to Outcome Mapping
- Short powerpoint ‘taster’ on Outcome Mapping by Robin Vincent
- Frequently asked questions
- Short background paper illustrating the difference between Outcome Mapping and logical framework approaches and highlighting where Outcome mapping is most useful.
- Outcome Mapping learning community which includes a lively discussion list, and a lot of links to case studies, videos, manuals and resources.
- A Manual produced by IDRC with clear and user friendly templates and examples (available in English, Arabic, Spanish, French Portuguese and Thai)
More resources on Outcome Mapping can be found in the Mesh Outcome Mapping resources category. To see how this resource fits in with the rest of Mesh's evaluation resources, and to learn how to navigate them, visit the Mesh evaluation page.
This resource was developed by Robin Vincent as part of supporting the Wellcome Trust linked community of practice on evaluation of public and community engagement and was originally hosted on the eMOPs website.
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.