Most Significant Change Technique

White Triangles

This publication is aimed at organisations, community groups, students and academics who wish to use Most Significant Change (MSC) to help monitor and evaluate their social change programs and projects, or to learn more about how it can be used.

The technique is applicable in many different sectors, including agriculture, education and health, and especially in development programs and can be applied to be many different cultural contexts.

The MSC technique is a form of participatory monitoring and evaluation.

  • It is participatory because many project stakeholders are involved both in deciding the sorts of change to be recorded and in analysing the data.
  • It is a form of monitoring because it occurs throughout the program cycle and provides information to help people manage the program.
  • It contributes to evaluation because it provides data on impact and outcomes that can be used to help assess the performance of the program as a whole.

Essentially, the process involves the collection of significant change (SC) stories emanating from the field level, and the systematic selection of the most significant of these stories by panels of designated stakeholders or staff. The designated staff and stakeholders are initially involved by ‘searching’ for project impact and once changes have been captured, various people sit down together, read the stories aloud and have regular and often in-depth discussions about the value of these reported changes. When the technique is implemented successfully, whole teams of people begin to focus their attention on program impact.

Further information and guidance can be found here.

QCA LogoAWRC LogoReal LogoJigsaw LogoHartpury Logo
© 2023 Sheffield Hallam University