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Guide 5: Define How a Program Will Work - The Logic Model

What is a Logic Model?

A logic model is a planning tool to clarify and graphically display what your project intends to do and what it hopes to accomplish and impact.

A logic model:

  • Summarizes key program elements;
  • Explains rationale behind program activities;
  • Clarifies intended outcomes;
  • Provides a communication tool

Think of a logic model as a map that you develop to clarify and communicate what your project intends to do and its presumed impact.

The components of logic models vary because there is no one single logic model format. According to the W. K. Kellogg Foundation Logic Model Development Guide, the basic components include:

Logic Model

Resources dedicated to or consumed by the program What the program does with the inputs to fulfill its mission The direct products of program activities Benefits for participants during and after program activities Desired long term result of the program

Sometimes a program logic model is confused with a project action plan. While there is some overlap, the difference is subtle but very important, as explained in a paper titled Everything You Wanted to Know About Logic Models But Were Afraid to Ask.

After you have defined your project goals, outputs and outcomes, it will be relatively easy for you to develop a program logic model. For an example, see a program logic model for the


Resources About Logic Models

Measuring Program Outcomes: A Practical Approach. 170 pp., 1996. United Way of America, Alexandria, VA.
A step-by-step manual for health, human service, and youth- and family-serving agencies on specifying program outcomes, developing measurable indicators, identifying data sources and data collection methods, analyzing and reporting findings, and using outcome information. Demonstrates the use of logic models in clarifying and communicating outcomes.

Logic Model Development Guide, W. K. Kellogg Foundation, October 2000. This guide offers a clear and concise discussion about the use of logic models and their importance for program planning and evaluation planning. It includes templates and other tools to help your organization develop logic models and evaluation questions. To order a print copy of the Logic Model Development Guide, call 1-800-819-9997 and request item #1209.

Everything You Wanted to Know About Logic Models But Were Afraid to Ask. By Connie C. Schmitz, Professional Evaluation Services, Minneapolis, MN, and Beverly A. Parsons, InSites, Boulder, CO. This paper addresses situations where a private foundation designs an initiative and awards grants to a number of sites to participate in the initiative in their local setting. The basic ideas are applicable to other situations.

Learning From Logic Models: An Example of a Family/School Partnership Program. The example of a hypothetical program, the Family Involvement Project (FIP), is used throughout the text to provide a realistic context for and help clarify each of the steps described. In addition, a completed logic model for the program is presented, from which examples throughout the text are taken.

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