This paper argues that theory of change can be used to help stakeholders
in agricultural research for development projects collectively agree on problems and
visions of success. This helps them feel greater ownership for their project, motivation
to achieve outcomes, and understanding of how to do so. However, the dynamic is
damaged if projects are pushed to be too specific too early about the outcomes for
which they are to be held accountable. This is most likely to happen when system
response to project intervention is uncertain, as opposed to projects that work with
existing pathways and partnerships where the role of research is well established.