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We are now piloting Contribution Tracing with Pamoja Evaluation Services in Ghana and Bangladesh to help us better understand CARE’s contribution to social accountability outcomes.

About the project

The initiative is called Capturing Complex Change, and is supported by CARE UK's Halcrow Investment Fund. It is a new learning partnership between Pamoja, CARE UK International and two CARE country offices in Ghana and Bangladesh. The purpose of the partnership is to support CARE to better capture the effects of its inclusive governance work through improved monitoring and evaluation. It will help CARE to better understand how we are influencing more complex change processes.

An important methodology employed in this project is called Contribution Tracing. This is a relatively new approach to impact evaluation which combines Process Tracing and Bayesian Confidence Updating. If you'd like to read more about the approach, check out this paper written by Barbara Befani and Gavin Stedman-Bryce.

Training of CARE staff and partners on contribution tracing began in early 2017 in Ghana and Bangladesh to build their capacity in the new methods being employed. The videos below capture participants' reactions and learning from the workshops.

Introducing the Halcrow Project in Ghana

Introducing the Halcrow Project in Bangaldesh

What is Contribution Tracing?

Contribution Tracing is a new approach to impact evaluation. It is all about increasing your confidence in making claims about impact. Essentially, you make a “claim” about your intervention’s role in achieving an outcome that really happened (your contribution), and then find evidence to defend your claim.

To do this, like other theory-based methods, you need a hypothesis (a proposed explanation) about how you think change happened. You then review the connection between different steps (or components) in that process:

You identify evidence that would help support (or undermine) your proposed explanation using the four tests of Process Tracing (Straws-in-the-wind, Hoops, Smoking Guns, Doubly Decisive).

What matters is not how much evidence you have, but how good that evidence is to help confirm that each part of your proposed explanation for your claim really exists (“probative value”).

In Contribution Tracing, you use Baysian (Confidence) Updating to assign a probability (how likely it is) that the various components of your contribution claim exist; and ultimately whether your claim holds true. You then update your confidence after gathering data precisely tailored to your claim (increasing or decreasing the probability using the four tests), compare this against rival explanations, and then put it up for “trial”, inviting others in to peer review your claim.

Want a quick summary of the contribution tracing stages? Check out these videos:

  • Video 1: What is Contribution Tracing?
  • Video 2: Developing a contribution claim
  • Video 3: Unpacking your mechanism
  • Video 4: Understanding process tracing tests
  • Video 5: Designing data collection

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Learning workshops


Our journey to apply Contribution Tracing to inclusive governance monitoring and evaluation has begun. But what do participants in the learning partnership think about this new approach to impact evaluation? **LEARN MORE**


2 Page Project Brief Contribution Tracing


2 Page Summary of Contribution Tracing


Contribution Tracing Inception Report


Contribution Tracing Progress Report


contribution_tracing.txt · Last modified: 2019/01/24 15:52 by