The most significant lessons about the Most Significant Change Technique

This article presents field-based insights into the application of the Most Significant Change (MSC) technique as a method to monitor social change resulting from a development intervention. Documentation of this innovative qualitative monitoring technique is slowly growing, but is mostly limited to grey literature. In particular, there is a lack of rigorous investigation to assess the complexities and challenges of applying the technique with integrity in the development context. The authors employ a conceptual model of monitoring and evaluation practicalities (the ‘M&E Data Cycle’) for a systematic examination of the challenges to, and key components of, successful application of the MSC technique. They provide a detailed analysis of how MSC was employed in two projects in Laos, extracting the lessons learned and insights generated. This practice-based information can inform future deployment of the MSC technique and contribute to its development.