How to Identify and Describe Attributes and Assumptions

How to Identify and Describe Attributes and Assumptions


Source: Purposeful Program Theory: Effective Use of Theories of Change and Logic Models., Sue C. Funnell &  Patricia J. Rogers; page 211


Each outcome needs to be reviewed to identify and describe the expectations of the programme relating to  “helping” and “hindering” factors in successful achievement.  Asking the following questions might be helpful.

  • What is going to be critically important for the achievement of the outcome? What needs to be in place? What circumstances are important? What are critical activities or level of quality?
  • What is going to threaten the achievement of this outcome?
  • What are our assumptions/expectations about these factors? 
  • To what extent can we control it?

You can also do a SWOT analysis for each outcome to identify the factors affecting outcome achievement and the organisation’s level of control over it. A SWOT analysis is shown below.



We provide a SWOT analysis template as part of the toolbox for this step.  You can download it here




Possible sources of information that can inform the process of identifying assumptions are:

  • Research, literature and other sources of timely information
  • Experience of the programme or similar programmes
  • Experience of the programme staff and other stakeholders

Documenting attributes and assumptions

It will be easiest to document the attributes and success factors in a table: 

We provide a template for such a table in the toolbox for this section - download it here.  Also read through the case study  where we discuss the attributes and assumptions for the New Beginnings Development Centre. We also provide an example of a completed assumption and attributes table as part of the case study.