Impact or results?

October 1, 2007 at 2:52 pm 1 comment

When speaking of achieving objectives for a project, I’ve heard a lot of people speak of the “intended impact” and I’ve read quite some “impact reports”. I know it’s a question of language, but often people use the word “impact” when in fact they should use the word “results”. Impact in the evaluation field has a specific application to long term effects of a project. The DAC Glossary of Key Terms in Evaluation and Results Based Management (pdf) produced by the OECD contains the most widely accepted definitions in this field. Impact is defined as:

“Positive and negative, primary and secondary long-term effects produced by a development intervention, directly or indirectly, intended or unintended”.

And “results” is defined as

“The output, outcome or impact (intended or unintended, positive and/or negative) of a development intervention”.

Consequently I believe that when we produce a report that shows media visibility generated by a project, this is a short term output and should be called “results” rather than “impact” which applies to more long-term effects.


Entry filed under: Evaluation methodology, Evaluation tools (surveys, interviews..), PR evaluation, Training evaluation.

New Blog: Measurement Standard Impact – how feasible for evaluation?

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