REEport Project Initiation Expected Outcomes

May 28, 2013 Debra Cheung

NIFA considers the terms “outcomes” and “accomplishments” to be synonymous. An outcome/accomplishment is defined as a significant change in knowledge, action, or condition. Outcomes are generally short, succinct statements that start with phrases indicating the occurrence of change. 

Examples of such phrases are:

“Increase in the numbers of acres that…”

“Decrease in the amount of children that…”

“Increased profits from the sale of…”


Outcome Types:

  • Change in Knowledge: For a research project, a change in knowledge can be a breakthrough understanding in scientific knowledge.  For education or extension projects, a change of knowledge occurs when recipients of an education or extension activity demonstrate significant learning/information gain in understanding.
  • Change in Action: A change in action occurs when a significant change in behaviors or practices results from the project’s activities.
  • Change in Condition: A change in condition occurs when a significant change in a condition of societal concern results from the project’s activities. If appropriate and available, outcomes should be supported with key, quantitative data, such as number of acres impacted, increased profits, or number of people impacted.


In terms of how the outcome types relate to each other, NIFA considers the highest achievement of any research or extension project to be an outcome categorized as change in condition. This is because a change in condition signifies that changes in action and learning occurred in order to perpetuate the change in condition. The second-ranked outcome type is change in action, and the third is change in knowledge. These rankings are not meant to diminish the importance of changes in action and knowledge. Rather, they are there to show that if you can demonstrate a change in condition, then it is not necessary to also list all the minute associated changes in action or knowledge. Likewise, if you can demonstrate a change in action, it is not necessary to list all the minute associated changes in knowledge.


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