The best place to start in planning any program evaluation is to be explicit about what your program is-what it does, and why you expect it to work. A logic model is a road map showing where you are going with your program, and how you plan to get there. It lays out your program goals, how your program will achieve these goals, and the results expected if program goals are met. No one knows your program like you do. While an evaluator can facilitate the process, you and your staff have the primary responsibility for developing your program logic model.
Be explicit about program goals, activities, and desired outcomes. This will help you focus your evaluation and articulate the evaluation questions that you want answered, which is why the logic model exercise is critical in planning your evaluation.
In fact, a program logic model is critical for every stage of evaluation in order to stay grounded in what the program is, to help focus evaluation questions, and to design and implement an evaluation that best meets your needs.
General Logic Model Framework
There are many ways to draw a logic model, but all should contain the following elements:
- The Context in which the program operates
- Assumptions – why the program should work ("program theory") and the nature of the problem
- Inputs – the resources required to operate the program
- Interventions and activities – what the program is and does
- Outputs – what is produced by program activities
- Immediate outcomes – what participants learned, their reactions to the program, and any short-term behavior change
- Subsequent outcomes – what learning, new or sustained behavior change, and "behavior spillover" to other positive behaviors
- Societal goals – the ultimate reason you are intervening
Sample Logic Model for a Healthy Marriage/Relationship Education Program
- American Academy of Pediatrics. (2006). Evaluating your community-based program. Elk Grove Village, IL: Author.
- Taylor-Powell, E., Steele, S., & Douglas M. (1996). Planning a program evaluation. Madison, WI: University of Wisconsin-Extension, Cooperative Extension.
- U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Administration for Children and Families, Office of Planning, Research & Evaluation. The Program Manager’s Guide to Evaluation Glossary.
- "Evaluation Resource Guide for Responsible Fatherhood Program," Office of Family Assistance.