Written by Sahar Mohy-Ud-Din, OAD fellow

What is a Logic Model?

A logic model can be defined as:
“A systematic and visual way to present and share your understanding of the relationships among the resources you have to operate your programme, the activities you plan to do and the changes/results you hope to achieve,” (Kellogg Foundation, 2004: 1)
OR
“The model describes logical linkages among program resources, activities, outputs, audiences, and short-, intermediate-, and long-term outcomes related to a specific problem or situation.” (McCawley, n.d: 1)
The purpose of a logic model is to;
▫ Clarify underlying beliefs
▫ Challenge assumptions and strengthen logic
▫ Communicate the project’s core purpose to the larger audience
▫ Make a case for financial investment

Logic models are actionable plans, strategies or maps with clear outcomes and explicit steps for solving programme/project problems.

A solid logic model rests on well-reasoned approaches around how and why the stated method of the model will produce the stated outcomes. The best time to develop a logic model is at the planning stage of the project or intervention.

Logic models will vary depending on the project and its complexity. Developing your program’s logic model components will take practice and collaboration. Some programs will involve only a few resources, activities, outputs, and outcomes; whilst others will involve many.

Who benefits from a logic model ?
i) Evaluators
 Who use it to organise data
 Who use it to understand how the program works and the logic that guides it
 To guide data collection plans (if it is in the logic model)

ii) Stakeholders
 By starting with an understanding of program logic, stakeholders are prepared to understand results while the logic underpinning the programme becomes clear and easy to relate to

iii) Evaluator / Stakeholder relationships
 Knowledge transfer between parties
 Transparency between parties
 Assistance with evaluation implementation
 Sustainability of the project once the funding has come to an end through the continued implementation of the knowledge/skills gained from the project through the stakeholders

iv) Promote understanding through either
 Causal links
o Is X the reason Y happens?
o What are the causes (or at least antecedents) of the problem targeted for intervention?
o Assures that the program addresses important factors involved in the targeted problem thereby providing leanness to the logic underpinning the model making it crisp and concise

 Explanatory methods
o Emphasis on investigating reality, through connecting ideas to find meaning and increasing knowledge
o What can help to better understand relationships or describe nature?

Strengths of the Logic Model
i) Description
▫ Enables stakeholders to identify their processes, activities and results and to visualise the journey the programme will embark on

ii) Explanation
▫ The Logic Model provides the context specific set of relationships that demonstrates a method of understanding an event for example: How does one understand a Tsunami? A number of variables could be at play such as:
o Weather
o Human error in recognising early warning signs– training, knowledge or individual judgment
o Technology – warning systems, automatic error compensation
o Some combination of all three?
– None of these is “correct” or “incorrect”
– Each provides a different framework for understanding and results in different pathways to policy decisions. One looks for the framework that provides each stakeholder group with the most choice for effective change

iii) Operational
▫ Displays links between resources, activities, and objectives

Limitations of the Logic Model
The most common limitations include:
▫ A logic model denotes intention, it is not reality therefore can easily go awry if the underlying logic and assumptions remain inconsistent
▫ It emphasises expected outcomes so unintended outcomes maybe overlooked (positive and negative);
▫ It focuses on positive change – change isn’t always positive;
▫ It may simplify the complex nature of causal attribution whereas many factors influence processes and outcomes;
▫ It may stifle creativity and spontaneity

Illustration of a logic model

A logic model flows from the left to the right moving from the process side to the impact side. It identifies:

Inputs
These are the resources available for a program, such as funding, staff, and leadership, expertise, program infrastructure, scientific knowledge and evidence-based strategies, and partnerships.

Activities
These are what a program actually does to bring about the intended change,
Such as formation of partnerships for capacity development, referral to services, and the dissemination of prevention messages for healthy families.

Outputs
These are the products or direct services resulting from the program activities. Outputs are the direct evidence of implemented activities. Some examples of the outputs of state birth defects surveillance programs might include: improvement in surveillance methodology, dissemination of surveillance information, the number of families linked to services, the number of partnerships channels for referral linkages, and the number of implemented prevention activities. It is important to distinguish early the difference between outputs and outcomes. Outputs relate to what has been done whereas outcomes refer to what difference has been made as a result of the intervention.

Outcomes
Identifies the sequence of changes, that is, the results expected to be achieved by the program.
▫ Short-term outcomes
Represent the most immediate effects attributable to a program, such as changes in learning, knowledge, and attitudes. Examples include: knowledge and awareness of malnutrition within the community, and referral and prevention messages through improved dissemination

▫ Intermediate Outcomes
Reflect the changes in actions, such as in behaviours and practices, that are a result of increased knowledge and awareness; for example, an increased number of families making more informed decisions around eating and purchasing of food to ensure nutrition within the household

▫ Impact (long term outcomes)
Refer to the conditions that change as a result of actions. Long-term outcomes are what the program is expected to affect, i.e. how have the lives of beneficiaries of the intervention changed (positive and negative change) as a result of the activities of the intervention/project. Examples include a decrease in the number of families reporting malnutrition. These
outcomes are more distant in time, less attributable to the program, and harder to measure.

Assumptions
These are facts or conditions you assume to be true. The assumptions that underlie a program’s theory are conditions that are necessary for success, and you believe are true. Your program needs these conditions in order to succeed, but you believe these conditions already exist – they are not something you need to bring about with your program activities. In fact, they are not within your control.

External Factors
The environment in which the program exists includes a variety of external factors that can influence the program’s success. External factors include the cultural milieu, the climate, economic structure, housing patterns, demographic patterns, political environment, background and experiences of program participants, media influence, changing policies and priorities. These external factors may have a major influence on the achievement of outcomes. They may affect a variety of things including the following:
• Program implementation
• Participants and recipients
• The speed and degree to which change occurs
• Staffing patterns and resources available

These factors interact with the program. They not only influence the initiative but are influenced by the initiative. A program does not sit in isolation – somehow “outside” or “apart” from its surrounding environment. A program is affected by and affects these external factors.
These are challenges that you foresee that will hinder the implementation of your project. They can come from individuals, organisations or groups.

Examples of Logic models: OAD Funded Projects

1. Astronomy for Literacy (AFL)
Astronomy for Literacy (AFL) will work to enhance literacy, numeracy and other foundational skills among up to 1250 struggling junior secondary school students in Sierra Leone. It will do this by adapting and developing high quality curriculum resources across literacy, math and science. The goal will be to use astronomy-related content to teach foundational reading and numeracy skills, while at the same time igniting an interest in astronomy and teaching in an engaging way the core concepts in astronomy that are part of Sierra Leone’s national curriculum for science.
The primary deliverables will be detailed, highly structured lesson plans that enable relatively low-skilled teachers with limited subject knowledge to still deliver high quality learning opportunities. Alongside this, the project will also invest in finding appropriate supplementary digital resources, including videos, presentations and other offline content, and in low-cost tablet devices that will allow groups of students to access this content.

2. Astronomy camp for girls in Abuja, Nigeria
It is believed that gender inequality in Northern Nigeria is promoted by religious and communal customs, which has grave consequences for both the individual and the society, making a girl-child dysfunctional member of the society. This innovative astronomy camp would give the children the first taste of space science and technology. Our target is to select fifty girls from different primary schools in Abuja, Nigeria for a camping exercise. The girls will learn about astronauts and space missions to add to their knowledge of spaceflights and a little bit of mathematics. This is more likely to increase children’s interest in space research and space-based technology. We will run through presentations and exercises between 16:00 and 19:00 to prepare the pupils for night observation session. The night observation session will run from 19:30 to 20:15 and camp closes by 20:30.

References

W.K.Kellogg Foundation. 2004. W.K. Kellogg Foundation Logic Model Development Guide. Available at:http://www.wkkf.org/knowledge-center/resources/2006/02/WK-Kellogg-Foundation-Logic-ModelDevelopment-Guide.aspx
McCawley, P.F. n.d. The Logic Model for Program Planning and Evaluation. Available at: https://www.cals.uidaho.edu/edcomm/pdf/CIS/CIS1097.pdf
OECD. n.d.Detailed Guide to Evaluating Financial Education Programmes. Available at: https://www.oecd.org/finance/financial-education/49994090.pdf