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Introduction to research: Logic models

Written By: Kieran Briggs
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What’s the idea?

Whether you are planning to implement an intervention or are thinking about how to carry out an evaluation, it is essential to have a clear understanding of what you are trying to do. A logic model is one way to help you do this.

What does it mean?

A logic model graphically illustrates and provides a framework for the components of an intervention in terms of inputs, outputs and outcomes.

  • Inputs represent the resources that are put into the intervention: money, time and skills.
  • Outputs are what is done: the activities associated with the intervention and who it reaches.
  • Outcomes are the changes and benefits which accrue in the short, medium and long-term. For example, change in teacher knowledge and skills, application in the classroom and improvements in student learning.

What are the implications for teachers?

  • Understanding. Developing a logic model will give you a greater understanding of what needs to be done to make the innovation work, and at the same time gives you a framework for evaluation.
  • Alignment. Logic models help you to align activities and effects. By developing a logic model for an intervention it can help you spot those intended activities with no supporting activities and resources, and then make the suitable adjustments.
  • Supporting the collaborative planning process. The development of a logic model is an iterative process developed by colleagues working together. This can help build a shared understanding of what needs to be done to make an intervention work. It is also helpful when you are looking to disseminate an intervention within or between schools.
  • Accountability and outcomes. In schools where resources are increasingly scarce, a logic model can keep a focus on the outcomes of an intervention and on whether the planned for outcomes are actually happening.

Want to know more?

  • EEF (2016) Thinking, Doing, Talking Science. Available at: https://educationendowmentfoundation.org.uk/public/files/Projects/Evaluation_Protocols/Regrant-_Thinking__doing__talking_science_June_2016.pdf (accessed 28 May 2019).
  • Corcoran R (2017) Logic Models: Developing Impact Studies. Irinstitutes. Available at: https://irinstitutes.org/logic-models-developing-impact-studies/ (accessed 28 May 2019).
  • Knowlton LM and Phillips C (2013) The Logic Model Guidebook: Better Strategies for Great Results. (2nd ed). San Francisco, CA: SAGE.
  • Community Tool Box (2018) Section 1: Developing a Logic Model or Theory of Change. Chapter 2: Other Models for Promoting Community Health and Development. Available at: https://ctb.ku.edu/en/table-of-contents/overview/models-for-community-health-and-development/logic-model-development/main (accessed 28 May).
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