We hope the resources and information in this guide can help faith groups interested in beginning or improving their evidence collection processes.

We suggest faith groups:

1. Develop a Theory of Change that aligns with their faith-inspired perspective on how their programs are improving their communities.

When faith groups begin to think about what evidence they need to collect, they first need to understand their theory of change. A theory of change is a detailed and clear map of how a program makes an impact on its community. Understanding your group’s theory of change will help map out what information should be collected and how it can be used. Read More about Theory of Change

Theory of Change – A Theory of Change (ToC) starts with the change in the world a faith group wants to see and works backward to lay out everything the faith group thinks will need to happen to bring it about (e.g., processes, activities, resources). It identifies the key players (including the organization, partners, public and private sectors) who will need to be involved, what each of those players will have to do, and clear rationales or assumptions on why they are likely to behave in the way you expect. These key players do not need to be an individual or organization, but could also be components of an intervention (e.g., a course, lesson, vaccine, loan, etc.).

ToCs are helpful for a variety of reasons, by clearly articulating the underlying theory on how and why change happens, the processes and activities involved can be evaluated and improved upon, as well as explained to relevant stakeholders. While other formats might be very rigid, ToC is flexible and can often be visually represented and mapped out.

Faith groups have distinctive theories of change, taking into account the influence of the divine. These specific theories of change in turn affect faith groups’ view of evidence and what evidence is important to collect, and how and to whom that evidence is communicated.

A Model of a Faith-Inspired Theory of Change

The JLI Mobilisation of Local Faith Communities Learning Hub developed a theory of change for faith-inspired groups that can be used to shape your thinking about your faith group’s theory of change.

The first step in getting started with collecting evidence is developing a strong foundational theory of change. Faith-inspired theory of change will help you understand what you should be collecting evidence about.

2. Develop a plan of action for the use and communication of data

In the early planning phases of evidence-gathering, consider and articulate why you are collecting the information and data. The goal of collecting information and data is to use it to make better decisions about the program. You can ask yourself: How will the information and data be used? Who is the audience of the information? How will we report the results? This could be anything from an internal report, grant proposal, presentation, conference poster, or article in a peer-reviewed academic journal.

3. Review the Guide’s Library of Examples and find relevant resources that you can adapt to your work. We can connect you with the experts from faith groups who have produced the examples.

4. Deepen learning by reviewing the additional resources below, including Common Terminology, General Principles, and Resources recommended by the Evidence Working Group.

Learn More with the links below:

 

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