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Kylie Hutchinson on the Splash and Ripple Model

My name is Kylie Hutchinson. I am an independent evaluation consultant and trainer with Community Solutions Planning & Evaluation. I teach workshops on evaluation and occasionally facilitate the Canadian Evaluation Society’s Essential Skills Series course. I am also a regular workshop presenter at AEA conferences, eStudy Webinars, and the Summer Evaluation Institute. I also Twitter weekly at @EvaluationMaven.

Like many evaluators, I frequently use the logic model to identify a program’s intended outputs and outcomes. However, have you ever struggled with trying to communicate the logic model with people who are either visual learners or may not think in a linear fashion? Several years ago I came across an excellent resource that has become a key part of my training practice.

Rad Resource: The Splash & Ripple Model ( Originally developed by Philip Cox and colleagues at Plan:Net ( evaluators specializing in international development, Splash & Ripple uses the analogy of a person dropping a rock into a pool to provide a simple analogy of the logic model process. The rock and the person represent the Inputs (human and physical), dropping the rock is the Activity, the resulting splash represents the Output(s), and the ever-widening ripples are the Outcomes- short, medium and long term. Philip devised this model when he was scheduled to present a workshop on project planning and evaluation to a team of eye health care professionals in Delhi, India. An organizational hitch made it impossible to proceed as planned – no room, no projector, half the time. Philip was forced to think fast and hard, and Voila! The Splash & Ripple Model. Many workshop participants tell me that this analogy gives them the “aha” moment that solidifies their understanding of logic model concepts.

Hot Tip: Plan:Net has written several Splash & Ripple manuals that are available as free PDFs for download from their site. The manuals are clear and succinct and a wonderful resource for new evaluators.

Do you have questions, concerns, kudos, or content to extend this aea365 contribution? Please add them in the comments section for this post on the aea365 webpage so that we may enrich our community of practice. Would you like to submit an aea365 Tip? Please send a note of interest to aea365 is sponsored by the American Evaluation Association and provides a Tip-a-Day by and for evaluators.

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  • Susan Kistler · July 27, 2012 at 9:33 am

    Here you go Kimberly – they were on the site under ‘our publications’

    Happy reading!


  • Kimberlybowman · July 23, 2012 at 5:29 am

    Kylie, are you able to provide links to a PDF or two? I’m having trouble locating them on their site.


  • Chad Green · July 28, 2011 at 11:11 am

    Fascinating post, Kylie.

    In all honesty I am interested more in pond management than the rippling processes at the surface. In fact, with careful management, I think the pond can take care of its own rippling processes. Is there a logic model approach out there that addresses such a need?



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