Monitoring and evaluation

Impact logs: A basic introduction

By 1 May 2012

What are impact logs?
All projects receive feedback of some sort. Whether it is formal, informal, or comments and anecdotes, all feedback can help to shape overall progress. As the project’s (or programme’s) research continues to develop, certain outputs or outcomes need to be evaluated by stakeholders, users or even the general public. Recording this feedback in an impact log database means that the team can figure out ways to improve the project while also making it easy access to feedback in future.

When are they used?
Impact logs, when used as part of a project evaluation or mapping, can record direct responses of impact from stakeholders. The Research and Policy in Development Group (RAPID) at ODI use impact logs to evaluate their overall programme.

The longer the impact log becomes, the easier it is to assess where and how the project is triggering the most direct responses (Hovland, Ingie, Making a difference: M&E of policy research, 2007). It also helps to establish future project choices.

An impact log can safely store both the qualitative and non-systematic feedback research outcomes.

How is this helpful?
By recording valuable stakeholder feedback your team will be able to:

  • easily identify problems
  • enable beneficiaries to help find solutions
  • allocate resources appropriately
  • launch innovative impact measurement systems
  • quickly detect mismanagement and fraud
  • communicate in real-time with beneficiaries and stakeholders
  • authenticate additional information for supporters
  • have a better insight into the impact of individual projects (Better Place Lab 2011)