By: Tori Schwarzlose
Youth-serving organizations must clearly state their program goals to staff, parents, participants, funders, and other interested parties. The development of a program Logic Model (LM) is as a way to frame, graphically display, and convey program goals and objectives. This fact sheet introduces the general idea of an LM and supplies Web-based resources that can help agency staff create a workable LM for their organizations.
Components of a Logic Model
Before creating an LM, an organization must understand and define its three basic components (see LM example in Figure 1).
- The first step in developing an LM is to establish goals for the program or organization. Goals are the desired program outcomes that will be achieved through participation. Though outcomes are listed last in an LM, they are constructed first. Outcomes should be broken down into those that will be accomplished in the short term, medium term, and long term. In addition, outcomes should be stated clearly enough for determination of whether the outcome has actually been achieved. A usual approach is to frame outcomes in measurable terms and collect data via an evaluation process. This helps to show progress in changing knowledge, values, attitudes, skills and/or behaviors. Note in the example in Figure 1 the overall goal is for the program to promote a healthy lifestyle. The outcomes listed help evaluate if the program achieved this goal in the short term, medium term, and long term.
- Outputs include descriptions of activities and participation. Outputs are identified by explaining the activity or activities used to help participants achieve the stated goals. A plan should determine the amount of programming that will take place, such as the number of sessions offered, and the amount of participation required to achieve the stated goals. In the example given in Figure 1, information given includes the number of sessions that will be offered. To achieve the desired outcomes, participants need to take part in 80 percent of the sessions.
- Inputs describe the specific resources that will be used to enable the program to take place. In other words, what investments in people, money, time, and research are needed to make the program work? Staff, funding, and programs are listed in the example in Figure 1.
Implications for Practitioners
LMs are important for developing quality programs and conveying to stakeholders the program’s goals and methods of meeting the intended goals. Stakeholders want to see an organization’s LM prior to deciding to contribute, or continue contributing, financial or other resources to support the program. If an LM is not presented, stakeholders may focus resources on organizations that have fully participated in the LM development process. LMs help draw stakeholders’ attention to the measurable outcomes of the program and, in turn, enable stakeholders to decide if the program is a proper match for their needs and interests.
Organizations should create an LM for each program they facilitate, and for the organization as a whole. LMs help promote program quality, continuity, and improvement. Creating and frequently reviewing and updating LMs are important in professionalizing the field. Using LMs improves youth programs, thus helping young people grow into fully functioning adults.
http://www.uwex.edu/ces/pdande/evaluation/evallogicmodel.html This website provides a template for creating your own LM, examples of LMs, and an online training on the use of LMs.
http://www.acf.hhs.gov/programs/fysb/content/programs/tpp/ prep-logic-model-webinar-110512.pdf This website provides a useful LM training PowerPoint
http://www.innonet.org/client_docs/File/logic_model_workbook. pdf The PDF provides a good LM workbook.
About the Author
Tori Schwarzlose is a youth development master’s degree student in the Department of Recreation, Park and Tourism Sciences at Texas A&M University and a graduate research assistant for Sequor YDI.
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