Assessing the impact of agricultural research often implies proving that some kind of positive impact was (or could be) achieved as a result of a successful research operation. This paper suggests an alternative approach: one that assumes from the outset that impact is achievable, but that stresses the importance of planning research in order to orient it more towards those areas where it is most likely to produce the highest levels of im-pact. Impact evaluation alone, although important, is not enough-it is just one element of an organization’s overall orientation towards achieving impact. The various issues surrounding impact evaluation are discussed and the concept of impact pathways is introduced to explain how impact is generated. Increasing the impact orientation of an organization involves not only understanding how impact is achieved, but also applying simple tools to ensure that research remains directed towards the overall goal of achieving Impact. Such tools include, for example, sensitizing and training researchers in relation to impact, incorporating impact criteria in project evaluations, ensuring that the results of impact evaluations are used in future research planning, integrating impact evaluation into existing planning and monitoring exercises, ensuring that project staff adopt an impact-oriented approach, and encouraging external feedback from farmers and other stakeholders. It also implies identifying those areas in which research is unlikely to be of value because various constraints reduce its potential impact. The paper concludes with recommendations for ways in which researchers and research administrators can plan and carry out research activities in order to produce the highest possible levels of impact.