Discussion: Using a Logic Model to Focus Interventions and Achieve Desired Outcomes
Consider the following:
In social work practice and in program development, it is possible to make faulty assumptions about what clients need and what the results from social work activities will be.
For example, a team of social workers meets to discuss their services to low-income young mothers. One social worker proposes that what the young mothers need most is information about community resources. She proposes that the social workers’ activities consist of making referrals to programs for public assistance for income support, food stamps, medical insurance, employment agencies, and educational resources. However, another team member points out that most clients are referred to their program from the public welfare office and health care programs. This method of referring clients implies that the clients possess knowledge of these common resources and have been able to access them. [What else, then, can the social workers provide these clients that will make a positive difference for them?]
[…] Developing a logic model will help the team see a logical connection between problems, needs, intervention activities, and corresponding outcomes. This series of logical connections leads to formulating a theory of change, that is, a theory about how our work leads to [intended] outcomes for clients. (Walden, Week 7 Discussion, 2021)
Our task as program developers involves exploring community needs, planning the program activities that are best suited for to mitigate the need, and making explicit plans to ensure that the program services are delivered.
The goal of this week’s information is to demonstrate the development and use of logic models which are graphic tools for planning and evaluating programs or interventions. They are designed to provide a visual map of plans to address needs of clients and make an effective impact.
Developing a program requires planning, gathering information, collaborating, making plans, assessing resources such as personnel, staff, and funds, revising, discussing again, and refining ideas, plans, and goals before settling on a final structure for the program.
Initially, the process of program development may seem to be like the diagram in Figure 1.
Logic models take a process like the diagram above (Figure 1) and place them in a systematic format.
A logic model uses words and/or pictures …[in] a systematic and visual way to present … the relationships among the resources for operating your program, the activities you plan, and the changes and goals that you hope to achieve.
The logic model connects the needs of the clients with the intended outcomes through the specific outputs you intend to perform (Kellogg Foundation, p.5, 2006).
Logic models are useful because
they provide … a [step-by-step] picture of how your program works… [A logic model] provides a roadmap for your program, outlining how it is expected to work, what activities need to come before others, and how desired outcomes are achieved. In simple terms, it gives a visual picture of what inputs and outputs are needed to achieve the desired outcomes. [At its most basic level] “[t]he logic model is really a sequence that shows the logical relationship between inputs, outputs, and outcomes.” (Barkman, 2000, p. 7).
By creating visual diagrams or tables of ideas, plans, and strategies, logic models link needs, resources, and interventions with intended goals and results (outcomes). The visual representation of a logic model “displays the chain of events that will effect changes and achieve your targeted outcomes” (Barkman, 2000, p. 7).
“[They] graphically illustrate program components [providing a] tactical explanation of the process of producing a desired outcome and [link] outcomes and activities to explain HOW and WHY the desired change is expected to come about”, providing evidence to explain what factors CAUSE the desired change. (Cook, 2015).
By applying a logic model to a problem and evaluating the results, social workers can become better informed about what works, how it works (or doesn’t work), and what is needed to sustain or increase long-term change. The knowledge gained from these evaluations can be applied to future service delivery models because it offers a theory of change, which explains how and why a particular intervention works. (Frechtling, 2007 in Randolph, 2010.)
WHAT TO STUDY and WATCH THIS WEEK
- Watch this video: Logic Models, Theory of Change, and Program Evaluation. This video provides an excellent explanation of the use of the logic model for developing and evaluating a social work program. The speaker summarizes all the points of the logic model that we will cover through the next three weeks.
- Read Dudley, J. R. (2020), Social work evaluation: Enhancing what we do (3rd ed.) pp. 115-122 to learn the connection between needs, problems and program planning. Skim the remainder of the chapter.
- Study Randolph. K. A. (2010). Logic models. In B. A. Thyer (Ed.) , The handbook of social work research (2nd ed., pp. 547-561). A link to this chapter is available in the learning resources on the Dashboard.
- Read Plummer, S.-B., Makris, S., Brocksen, S. (Eds.) (2014). The Petrakis Family. In Sessions: Case histories. Laureate [Vital Source e-reader]. You will use this case study for the assignment this week.
WHAT YOU WILL LEARN THIS WEEK
- How logic models are developed and used in effective social work practice
- How needs are connected to relevant resources and activities to achieve specific outcomes
- Terminology used in logic models: needs that point to solutions, resources, outputs (that is, services and activities performed), and outcomes
- How to create a logic model and theory of change for a program
WHAT YOU WILL DO FOR THE DISCUSSION THIS WEEK
By Day 3
By Day 3, submit an original post containing a logic model and answers to the questions listed below. Please include “Original Post” in your header and use the format listed below these instructions. If you choose to revise information in your post, you must resubmit the entire corrected post with references, and title it “Original post – revised”.
To prepare for this Discussion, envision yourself as a social worker in an agency that has authorized you to create a logic model and generate a theory of change for implementing a program of your choice with an individual client, group of clients, or community group. You are required to present your idea with a logic model that lists the resources needed for the program, plans for the services and/or activities of the program, and the goals you hope to achieve by offering the program. Imagine that your agency has multiple resources available to you for your project, except for a few. (We can dream, can’t we?)
- Present a logic model for a practitioner level program using the template in Table 2 below.
Post a logic model for a fictional program that you would like to implement if you had the appropriate clientele and support of your agency (that is, a practitioner-level intervention.)
Enter these items into the logic model template listed below and paste the template in your discussion post:
- The name of your programfor your client, client group, or community group.
- Situation statement: Describe the problem or need that you intend to address through your program. (Hint: Keep it simple. Logic models can become very complicated quickly when addressing multiple needs.)
Identify any conditions that are making it difficult for your client(s) to overcome the problem or need and identify the goal of your project. (1-2 sentences with sufficient detail for your reader to understand the context for your program).
- Resources: List resources that are already available to you for implementing your program and those you will need to acquire. (You may use your own agencies as models, but don’t identify them.). You may use your imagination and judgment to create imaginary lists of resources. List two that are available and two that must be acquired.
- List the activities or services that you intend to offer. List no more than three services or activities, unless you have a large staff and an enormous budget!
- Provide the logistics for providing the services – whoprovides the services or performs the activity, when services will be provided (days, time, how long, etc.), where services will be provided, how many and how often services will be provided, and so on. Be very detailed so there is no confusion about roles, responsibilities, and schedules. Include transportation or other auxiliary services if needed.
- For each activity, identify who is expected to receive the service or benefit from it.
- If participants will contribute to their goals in some way, provide details of what they will do as part of the program.
- Identifythe short-term, intermediate, and long-term outcomes from each activity expected from your outputs. They must be concrete, observable, and measurable changes in behavior and/or a social condition. You may have to use your imagination to provide observable, measurable benefits of the program. Short-term benefits include those occurring during or immediately after the program, intermediate outcomes occur several months to a year after the conclusion of the program, long-term outcomes refer to sustained change that may lead to permanent change.
- Provide one idea you found interesting from the video entitled Logic models, theory of change and program evaluation. The presenter offers many ideas in the video; select an idea that has not been posted previously by any fellow scholars (one idea per student).
Table 2: Logic model template for SOCW 6311
|Situation: Brief description of the need, problem, or goal that the program is designed to address
|Resources needed for the program such as staff, space, time, funds, equipment, stakeholder support||Activities and Services that will be provided by the program||Activity and service logistics:
What person(s) provide the service, where, when, how, any other details
|Who are the recipients and/or participants for the activity or service provided in the 2nd column?||Changes by participant or recipient in attitudes, knowledge, or perceptions during the program that enable positive changes||Changes by participant or recipient in skills, abilities, or behaviors that will produce positive long-term outcomes||Changes for participant, recipient, or others indirectly affected by the situation|
|What resources do we already have?
What resources will we need?
|Activity #1||Details||Provided to:||Activity #1 produced:
|Activity #2||Details||Provided to:||Activity #2 produced:
|Activity #3||Details||Provided to:||Activity #3 produced:
|What (if anything) will the participants provide, contribute, or perform?
|Details||Provided to:||Participant effort produced:|
Yank, J. R. (2021). Logic model template for SOCW 6311. Walden University.