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Logic Models: The Best Way to Ensure Proper Program Design and Implementation

Good Idea + Smart Design + Effective Implementation = Successful Program!

Logic models are great way to gain a better understanding of a program and its position within the overall organization. Many program evaluators recommend organizations, especially public and nonprofit, create these models to ensure that a program is effective in meeting its intended goals. Logic models also help ensure that a program is designed properly and implemented efficiently to uphold the organization’s mission. As program evaluation becomes more important within the government, it is important for all public officials to understand what a logic model is and how it is constructed.

Brief Logic Model Description:

A logic model is a visual representation of how a program functions. It helps determine what assumptions and theories are underlying the programs, and links outcomes with program activities and theoretical assumptions. It is a learning tool that can help identify outcomes and anticipate potential roadblocks that the program may encounter. In general, a logic model provides a clear map of the overall program, from the program’s design to implementation.

A logic model is presented visually and systematically, in order to understand the relationships among the resources you have, the activities you plan to do, and the changes you hope to achieve. A logic model is typically made up of five parts: (1) Resources or Inputs, (2) Activities, (3) Outputs, (4) Outcomes, and (5) Impact. Overall, it is divided into two sections from there, with resources and activities as a part of the planned work and outputs, outcomes, and impact as part of the intended results. After developing the logic model, it is important to analyze key contextual factors, which help to determine environmental or situational constraints to the program’s ability to achieve desired outcomes. These parts are described in more detail below:

  1. Resources/Inputs are the human, financial, organizational, and community resources a program has available.
  2. Activities are what the program does with the resources. They are processes, tools, events, technology, and actions that are an intentional part of the program implementation.
  3. Outputs are direct products of the program activity. They may include types, levels, and targets of services to be delivered by the program.
  4. Outcomes are specific changes in program participants’ behavior, knowledge, skills, status, and level of functioning. It can be divided into short-term outcomes, 1 to 3 years, and long-term outcomes, 4 to 6 years.
  5. Impacts are the fundamental intended or unintended change occurring in organizations, communities, or systems as a result of program activities within 7 to 10 years.
  6. Contextual factors are elements that may mediate the program’s ability to achieve desired outcomes or impacts.

For a very detailed description of a logic model, click here.

What do you think?

Should more organizations utilize logic models to develop effective programs?

Does your organization utilize this method?

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