Most Significant Change

Resource type
Most Significant Change
The Most Significant Change (MSC) approach involves generating and analysing personal accounts of change and deciding which of these accounts is the most significant – and why. The are three basic steps in using MSC: Deciding the types of stories that should be collected (stories about what - for example, about practice change or health outcomes or empowerment) Collecting the stories and determining which stories are the most significant Sharing the stories and discussion of values with stakeholders and contributors so that learning happens about what is valued. MSC is not just about collecting and reporting stories but about having processes to learn from these stories – in particular, to learn about the similarities and differences in what different groups and individuals value. It provides some information about impact and unintended impact but is primarily about clarifying the values held by different stakeholders. By itself it is not sufficient for impact evaluation as it does not provide information about the usual experience but about the extremes. If you imagine a normal distribution of outcomes for individuals then the stories often come from the extremity of positive change. It can be useful to explicitly add a process to generate and collect stories from the extremity of little or negative change. MSC can be very helpful in explaining HOW change comes about (processes and causal mechanisms) and WHEN (in what situations and contexts). It can therefore be useful to support the development of programme theory (theory of change, logic models).
Blog Title
Better Evaluation
Better Evaluation. (n.d.). Most Significant Change. Better Evaluation. Retrieved October 18, 2018, from