Theories of change and logic models telling them apart
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Theories of Change and Logic Models: Telling Them Apart. Hel éne Clark Director, ActKnowledge h [email protected] 212-817-1906 Andrea A. Anderson Research Associate, Aspen Institute Roundtable on Community Change [email protected] 212-677-5510, 27.

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Theories of Change and Logic Models: Telling Them Apart

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Theories of change and logic models telling them apart

Theories of Change and Logic Models:Telling Them Apart

Heléne Clark

Director, ActKnowledge

[email protected]

212-817-1906

Andrea A. Anderson

Research Associate, Aspen Institute Roundtable on Community Change

[email protected]

212-677-5510, 27

Actknowledge & Aspen Roundtable on Community Change


Theories of change and logic models telling them apart1

Theories of Change and Logic Models:Telling Them Apart

Presentation at

American Evaluation Association

Atlanta, Georgia

November 2004

Heléne Clark and Andrea A. Anderson

Actknowledge & Aspen Roundtable on Community Change


Toc vs logic models what a headache

TOC vs. Logic Models! What a headache!

  • Terms often used interchangeably

  • Confusion by funders and grantees about expectations

  • Limited knowledge on how to use

  • TOC and LMs can “blend” into each other

Actknowledge & Aspen Roundtable on Community Change


But it is worth the trouble to figure this out

…but it is worth the trouble to figure this out…

  • Yet, funders almost all demand one or the other

  • Both can greatly improve program design and evaluation (but in different ways)

Actknowledge & Aspen Roundtable on Community Change


So what s the problem

So what’s the problem?

  • Everyone talking about TOCs and LMs, but not meaning the same thing

  • Grantees being penalized by confusion when funders not sure

  • Underuse of their power to improve programs

  • Neither term is clearly defined in literature

Actknowledge & Aspen Roundtable on Community Change


So let s set the record straight

So, let’s set the record straight …

Logic Model - United Way format is most widespread

Theory of Change – less standardized, but has core components

Actknowledge & Aspen Roundtable on Community Change


And for the history buff logic models

..and for the history buff: Logic Models

  • 30 year history

  • Clear identification of goals (outcomes)

  • First widespread attempt to depict program components so that activities matched outcomes

Actknowledge & Aspen Roundtable on Community Change


What is a logic model

What is a logic model?

Basic United Way format, 1996

Actknowledge & Aspen Roundtable on Community Change


Theories of change

Theories of Change

  • Popularized in 1990s to capture complex initiatives

  • Outcomes-based

  • Causal model

  • Articulate underlying assumptions

Actknowledge & Aspen Roundtable on Community Change


What is a theory of change

What is a Theory of Change?

Long-term

Outcome

Explain WHY here

Show activities here also

Necessary

Pre-

condition

Necessary

Pre-

condition

All outcomes that must be achieved BEFORE long-term

Necessary

Pre-

condition

Necessary

Pre-

condition

Necessary

Pre-

condition

Actknowledge & Aspen Roundtable on Community Change


Let s look at an example

Let’s Look at an Example

Project Superwomen

Actknowledge & Aspen Roundtable on Community Change


How are they different

How are they different?

Logic models graphically illustrate program components, and creating one helps stakeholders clearly identify outcomes, inputs and activities

Theories of Change link outcomes and activities to explain HOW and WHY the desired change is expected to come about

Actknowledge & Aspen Roundtable on Community Change


How are they different1

How are they different?

(1)

Logic Models usually start with a program and illustrate its components

Theories of Change may start with a program, but are best when starting with a goal, before deciding what programmatic approaches are needed

Actknowledge & Aspen Roundtable on Community Change


How are they different2

How are they different?

(2)

Logic Models require identifying program components, so you can see at a glance if outcomes are out of sync with inputs and activities, but they don’t show WHY activities are expected to produce outcomes

Theories of Change alsorequire justifications at each step – you have to articulate the hypothesis about why something will cause something else (it’s a causal model, remember!)

Actknowledge & Aspen Roundtable on Community Change


How are they different3

How are they different?

(3)

Logic Models don’t always identify indicators(evidence to measure whether outcomes are met or not)

Theories of Change require identifying indicators

WHY DOES THIS MATTER?

Actknowledge & Aspen Roundtable on Community Change


How are they different4

How are they different?

Because, you need to know HOW WELL a precondition needs to be met in order to get to the next goal.

What does that mean?

Example: How often do students need to attend the after-school program in order for their reading tests scores to improve?

Actknowledge & Aspen Roundtable on Community Change


How are they different5

How are they different?

A Logic Model would tell you that the after school program is an activity and improved reading scores is an outcome. It might tell you that attendance at the after school program is an intermediate outcome.

Actknowledge & Aspen Roundtable on Community Change


How are they different6

How are they different?

But it wouldn’t tell you that:

“students need to attend after-school programs at least 3 days per week for a minimum of 60 days, and the curricula must focus on love of reading and literacy, IN ORDER FOR test scores to rise”

Actknowledge & Aspen Roundtable on Community Change


How are they different7

How are they different?

Summary

Actknowledge & Aspen Roundtable on Community Change


When to use

When to Use?

Logic Models are great when you need to:

  • Show someone something they can understand at a glance

  • Demonstrate you have identified the basic inputs, outputs and outcomes for your work

  • Summarize a complex theory into basic categories

Actknowledge & Aspen Roundtable on Community Change


When to use1

When to Use?

Theories of Change are best when you need to:

  • Design a complex initiative and want to have a rigorous plan for success

  • Evaluate appropriate outcomes at the right time and the right sequence

  • Explain why an initiative worked or did not work, and what exactly went wrong

Actknowledge & Aspen Roundtable on Community Change


It s obvious by now

It’s obvious by now:

Theories of Change are a lot of work and take time.

On the other hand, Logic Models are often too simplistic to be helpful…..

Actknowledge & Aspen Roundtable on Community Change


So can we have the best of both worlds

So, can we have the best of both worlds?

We suggest,

Undertake a TOC process that is a manageable scope for your organization. Make sure you get stakeholders to articulate what has to happen IN ORDER for goals to be met and their assumptions about why….

Actknowledge & Aspen Roundtable on Community Change


Theories of change and logic models telling them apart

Then,

Summarize your theory in ways that serve the purposes of your different constituents, such as residents, funders, Boards, etc.

A Logic Model that is a summary of an underlying theory is a much more powerful tool.

Actknowledge & Aspen Roundtable on Community Change


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