Transcript of Exploring Program Logic.
As health professionals we want our work to improve health outcomes for our patients and our population. Whether we're developing a new program, improving a service, or preparing to evaluate our work, program logic can help. A program logic model is a visual tool that tells the story of how a program should work. It shows what resources will be used and what activities will be done with those resources. It outlines the products, goods and services that will result from the activities and describes the short and intermediate term impacts of those activities. Finally, it shows the long-term outcomes the program is expected to achieve.
Developing a program logic model can help ensure that what we do creates the change we want to see. It helps guide our evaluations so they inform program decisions. A program logic model is also useful for: engaging stakeholders in the design or evaluation of a program; communicating the intent of a program and its rationale; identifying and explaining the links between different program components; revealing and testing assumptions; guiding program implementation; helping frame an evaluation of the process; impacts and outcomes of a program. This includes: what evaluation questions to ask; what information is needed to answer these questions; and when to collect data.
The best time to develop a program logic model is at the start of a program. Although not ideal, it can also be done when a program is already underway. The model is best created by working together with a range of people who understand the program or issue. This helps to ensure the model is relevant and to create a shared sense of ownership and accountability. One way to start is to list possible impacts and outcomes. These are what you think the program will achieve. Then sequence the achievements from short-term impacts to intermediate impacts and long-term outcomes. Next, decide what products and services need to be provided to achieve these outcomes. Then, think about the activities that are needed to generate these outputs. Next, identify what resources are needed to deliver these activities. Lastly, review the logic underlying the program and identify and test any assumptions made.
Here are a few things to consider when developing your model. Think about the broad range of influences that will affect your outcomes. Consider addressing multiple impacts in order to achieve meaningful change at the outcome level. Be aware that program outcomes may take a long time to achieve. Be realistic about what can be achieved within your timeframe and available resources. And, as things change over time, review and revise your model to ensure it remains relevant.
Program logic provides a sound basis for the design, implementation and evaluation of health programs. It helps us achieve our anticipated impacts and outcomes. To get started talk to your manager, talk to your organisation's research and evaluation support people, or refer to these guides and tools.