A results chain is a graphical representation of a theory of change. It is a type of logic model. The results chain logic model shows what the program is doing and why.
A results chain analysis involves some fundamental assumptions about how a particular strategy will aid in maintaining, improving, or restoring an outcome. It also includes the logical sequence that links the project strategies to one or more of the intended outcomes and impacts. Also sometimes called an input-output model or a pipeline model, a results chain framework distinguishes between five logically connected elements:
- inputs – it includes the resources needed to carry out the activities,
- activities – the actions taken to transform the input into output,
- outputs – this can involve either a group of people or an organization that has improved their abilities, skills, systems or policies, or if a product has been created, built or repaired as a direct result of the organization’s efforts,
- outcomes – the outcome can be a behavioral change or a change in performance achieved through planned outputs, and
- impact – the long-term effects of a program.
The results count framework is used in a wide variety of development programs. However, there are some specific issues to consider while implementing them in a market systems context.
A good results framework example is the Business Opportunities and Support Services (BOSS) project in Timor-Leste. The results chain logic model used here gives a clear summary of how the interventions are intended to work at various stages.