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Published on: 02/12/2011

While most documentation efforts are focused on final outputs: reports and visual products we produce at the end of a development project, documenting how a change process unfolds can provide new insights for practice and learning.

Social change is a non‐linear and often unpredictable process.

This documentation and reflection work, termed 'process documentation', has become a vital part of IRC’s work with our partners. We first published about it in a simple guidebook The Inside Story:Process Documentation Experiences from EMPOWERS which accompanies a story book called Doing things differently: Stories about Local Water Governance in Egypt, Jordan and Palestine (links below).

The Occasional Paper, Documenting change: An introduction to process documentation  presents lessons learned from a range of projects over the past ten years and describes the emerging understanding of how process documentation can promote learning and action through joint reflection and analysis. also offers tools for collecting and presenting observations that stimulate reflection, learning and sharing.

Social change is a non‐linear and often unpredictable process. By recording stories of change about how things were done, what worked, and what did not, individuals involved in an intervention can learn, improve upon the intervention and share lessons with others. This is crucial to achieving broad development goals.


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