Evidence Generation — Logic Models

Many organizations have used or developed logic models for their programs. Too often, these models originated with funder specifications or as a mandatory component in an application for grant funding. If your organization’s logic model was developed for a grant application, or if you found it relatively easy to reach consensus on the model, it probably needs to be redone.

Logic models must be very specific and they should be periodically revisited if they are to be useful as a guide to evaluation. A good logic model should assert the chain of causal links between program components and outcomes and it should describe how agency practices are combined to produce these outcomes.

An Example: The Research & Evaluation Center is evaluating the Cure Violence program of violence reduction in New York. We developed this logic model to identify the most useful focus for our data collection efforts.

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People inevitably have varying opinions about the validity or accuracy of logic models. Working through these differences takes time. Resolving honest disputes over an agency’s logic model is an essential step in the collaboration required to develop a useful model.

As Laura Leviton from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation says in the video below, “logic models are like pie crusts; they’re are made to be broken.” You know you’re doing a good job of constructing a logic model, says Leviton, if people working in the program keep wanting to “mess up your logic model.”

Laura Leviton on Logic Models