How to Create a Logic Model
How to Create a Logic Model
Key steps for putting together a logic model include:
- Assemble a dynamic team
- Logic models should be developed using a team approach.
- Key constituents are necessary to gain a clearer understanding of your program goals, assets, and commitments.
- A logic model design team should include a group of individuals who are committed to the goals of the organization and are willing to contribute to the logic model development over time
- Disseminate key facts prior to the meeting
- Determine the basic information about the program that every team member needs to know prior to the meeting.
- Don’t assume that all team members know and have access to the same information.
- It is important that everyone “starts in the same place” to create a setting that enables the voices of multiple constituents.
- Determine a method for maintaining good notes
- Of course note taking seems like a simple assumption, but the importance of note taking should not be overlooked.
- Have a solid record of your meetings so that the evolution of particular ideas can be traced.
- A note taker should be determined prior to the logic model development meetings and ideally should be consistent over time.
- Create a time frame for completing the initial and ongoing review process
- A logic model is not likely to be developed in a two-hour meeting, or even two such meetings therefore, there should be some time investment in creating a logic model.
- Consider conducting a series of short term on or off site “retreat” meetings with the project team or create a series of short meetings over the period of a few weeks.
- The decision to schedule meetings is likely to depend on:
- Time constraints
- The culture of your organization
- The best way to move the group forward
- Be sure to keep the conversations going so that momentum towards completing the model is consistent and connected.
Click Logic Model Development Template to download a Logic Model Development Template.
Create a Final Logic Model Presentation
After completing the logic model development template or at least compiling all the information required in the template, the information should be organized in a succinct and strategic display of boxes and arrows. For PC users, for example, Microsoft Word’s drawing and auto shape tools provide the basics needed to create the boxes and arrows.
- The boxes can be in any shape: squares, ovals, circles, etc.
- The arrows can be vertical or horizontal and must show relationships or linkages
- The organization of the boxes and arrows can also depict levels of detail or complexity
There are multiple models of logic models (please see Resources and References for links to examples).
- The more creative, colorful or complex a logic model is does not necessarily mean that it clearly conveys the linkages between the inputs, activities, outputs, outcomes and/or impacts of your program.
- Remember that clear reasoning is one of the key measures of the effectiveness of your logic model, especially for your evaluation.
Click on the tabs below for more details about each of the five logic model elements.
The Source: W.K. Kellogg Foundation, Logic Model Development Guide, p. 1.
Your Planned Work (Step 1)
Resources include those aspects of your project which are available and dedicated or used by the program/service. Sometimes this component is referred to as Inputs or Assets and can include:
- Human resources and talent (e.g., administrative staff, program staff, parents, peer tutors, etc.)
- Financial support (e.g., federal, foundation, and/or corporate funding, matching , etc.)
- Organizational tools (e.g., committees, board members, data collection and tracking tools, etc.)
- Community contributions (e.g., partnerships, business volunteers, workshops, etc.)
- Supplies (e.g., equipment, office space, books and materials, transportation, etc.)
- In-kind donations (e.g., event tickets, care packages, meeting space, etc.)
- Other (e.g., resources that are unique to your program, the region, state, etc.)
The process of defining resources/assets/inputs is driven by a discussion about context and goals.
- A program might already have a mission statement, set of goals, or other document that outlines the main objectives of the organization.
- If the program is a part of a larger umbrella program such as TRIO or a state level program, also consider the specific mandates or guidelines of the larger organization as well.
- These documents should be the first point of contact for thinking through the logic model. Ask a few key questions related to these goals, such as:
- Does the mission/goal statement continue to reflect the kind of work that we do within this organization?
- Who are our target populations and how do we carefully define them?
- What assumptions do we make in achieving our goals?
- What resources are available to meet these goals? (Within some logic model examples, you will see these resources also listed as inputs or assets).
- These general questions also serve as a means for gauging whether or not the evaluation team members are in agreement about the main goals of the organization.
- Responding to these questions as a group and being able to build cohesion around these questions is crucial to guiding the next parts of the logic modeling process.
Your Planned Work (Step 2)
Activities are what the program/service actually does with the inputs in alignment with its mission. One way to approach activities is to answer the question, “What do we do?” Your activities are what your program does with the resources that are the intentional part of the program implementation. Activities can include:
Connecting program goals and action drives the process for defining program services (activities):
- Once your group has determined your goals, assumptions, and resources, the next step in the logic modeling process is to create a list of the kinds of programs and services that are offered through your organization.
- Here are a few guiding thoughts on making your initial list of activities:
- Create a full list of the kinds of services and activities that your organization provides to its constituents.
- Try not to “forecast” what might or might not be as important as other activities while making the initial list.
- As a result of your initial discussion, you may come to two possible outcomes:
- There are programs and services offered that do not completely link to your organization’s goals.
- There may be additional services that are needed but not currently offered.
- When you use the logic model as part of the overall program evaluation process, this experience will help inform your findings and future planning.
- You may realize, for example, that while you have a goal for increasing academic preparation for your student population, you offer only one academic prep program and ten socialization activities.
- Discoveries like these reveal issues with the alignment of your program services to your overall goals. A re-prioritization of your activities to meet your goals may be necessary.
- These findings are also related to how you might evaluate your short term and long-term accomplishments.
- Other details about program services to provide may include:
- Number of services
- Number of hours
- The time of day services are provided (i.e. during school or after school)
- The day(s) for your program activities (i.e. Saturday)
Examples of Program Activities:
- Summer Bridge
- Student Career and College Planning Assessments
- Student College Tours
- Parent College Tours
- Student Advising or Mentoring
- FAFSA Completion Workshops
- Financial Literacy Workshops
Your Intended Results (Step 3)
Outputs link the activities or services delivered by the program with the target audience(s). The audience are those who participate in your program and will benefit from its services.
One way to define the participants is by asking the questions “What are our program goals?” and “Who do our program activities or services reach?” Thus, outputs may define the tangible accomplishments which result from the activities.
Types of participants in the program can include:
- Community leaders
Define the participant levels of the audience. For example, if the targeted participants in the program activities are students, the following details define which students program services reaches:
- Student levels may include:
- Middle school grades
- High school (Freshmen, Sophomore, Juniors and/or Seniors)
- College-level students
- Adult students
- Other student targets may include:
- Student economic levels (i.e. low-income, free-lunch)
- Student gender and/or ethnic groups (e.g., freshmen Hispanic males)
- Student social status (i.e. first-generation status, immigrants, ESL learners, etc.)
- Students with disabilities
- Details about the students that are pertinent to the program goals and implementation can include:
- Number of students recruited
- Number of students receiving assistance
Finally, ask whether the program outputs connect to the types of outcomes being hoped for?
- If, for example, the financial aid application goals and the financial aid application completion are all viewed as short-term outcomes, then the activities or services should be clearly identified as well as the appropriately targeted participants or program activity recipients defined in the output cycle that will result in that goal.
- If the participants are only eigth or ninth graders, a re-prioritization of the activities or participants to meet the goal may be necessary.
Your Intended Results (Step 4)
Outcomes are the immediate specific measurable changes in program participants’ level of functioning.
- Outcomes are the short-term, as oppose to medium term or long term results expected to achieve in 1 – 3 years after a program activity is underway.
- Short-term outcomes are usually expressed at an individual level among program participants.
- The changes in the participants that result from program activities include:
- Attitudes (e.g., increased number of student aspiring to go to college)
- Behavior (e.g., increased attendance rates, increased student support and engagement)
- Knowledge (e.g., a greater awareness of steps to college, higher test score among certain students)
- Skills (e.g., more students take academic prep courses in high school, increased number of students performing at grade level in math)
- Status (e.g., increase number of students transitioning to next grade level, more students enroll in and complete college)
The following are questions to consider for developing the outcomes in your logic model:
- What are the overarching assumptions of your model?
- For example, does your team believe the overlapping workshops are the key to success? Or that different types of workshops might be more meaningful to different grade levels?
- Are your outcomes truly measurable?
- There is a quantitative difference between setting “95% of graduating seniors will attend a four year college” as a measurable target, versus “most seniors will attend college.”
Make Outcomes SMART:
Outcome time frames:
- Short-term outcomes should be attainable within 1-3 years
- Longer-term outcomes should be achievable within a 4-6 year
- The logical progression from short-term to long-term outcomes should be reflected in impact occurring within about 7-10 years.
Your Intended Results (Step 5)
Impact is the fundamental intended or unintended change occurring in organizations, communities, or systems as a result of program activities within 7-10 years.
- The impact of a program is the long-term outcomes that are hard to directly connect to the activities or services in your program.
- However, the impact represents a logical progression from the measurable short-term outcomes to the long-term outcomes within the 7-10 year time frame.
The two key factors to think about when defining the impact of a program include:
- The big picture, overall or overarching goal of your program
- The long-term results of your program
The long-term outcomes can be:
Here are some specific examples of what a college access or success program may be designed to impact in the long-term:
- Closing the student achievement gap
- Decreasing the drop-out rate
- Increasing the high school graduation rate
- Increasing the college enrollment rate
- Increasing the college completion rate