A results chain is a tool that shows how a project team believes a particular action it takes will lead to some desired result.

As the results chain indicates, an intervention begins with a set of inputs and activities that result in outputs, outcomes and impacts.

  1. Resources/Inputs are used to carry out activities.
  2. Activities produce specific outputs.
  3. Outputs are the products, capital goods and services that are produced by an intervention, including changes arising from the intervention that are relevant to the achievement of outcomes. Outputs are the first level of results. They are the most immediate effects of an activity, the results over which you have most control. Outputs produce outcomes.
  4. Outcomes are the likely or achieved medium-term effects of an intervention’s outputs. Outcomes are the second level of results. Outcomes contribute to impacts.
  5. Impacts are the primary and secondary long-term effects of an intervention, be they positive or negative, direct or indirect, intended or unintended. They make up the “big picture” of the changes that you are working towards but that your activities alone may not achieve. Impacts represent the underlying goal of your work and justify the intervention.

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