Michael Duttweiler on Talking Your Way Into a Logic Model

Hello, My name is Michael Duttweiler and I am assistant director for program development and accountability for Cornell University Cooperative Extension.  One of my roles is to provide evaluation planning assistance to local extension educators, many of whom do not have formal backgrounds in program development or evaluation.

Hot Tip: Talking Your Way Into a Logic Model I often rely on development of logic models as an initial step in evaluation planning.  Occasionally, I encounter individuals and groups that either have not been exposed to logic models or that resist them based on past experience.  When that happens, I rely on a simple narrative approach to begin the process.

I start by asking “What do you do in this program?”  Then I ask “What do you expect the participants to do?” Last, I ask “Why are you doing this? What do you expect to achieve?”  Next I turn to the narrative form of logic modeling and ask them to summarize the program using statements in the form “If we  (program actions/ activities), the participants will (learn, apply, change practices), and the results will be (intended outcomes).”  With one or more draft statements in hand, I ask “What are the assumptions behind these statements? What are you assuming about the audience, their resources, your roles, etc.?”  That often leads to revisions in the statements or addition of intervening statements.   Then I ask “What’s it take to do this program?” to begin getting at inputs.  Last I ask “What things tell you this program is on track?” which gets at outputs and indicators.  Somewhere along the way, groups usually call the game saying something like “OK, OK, we’ll do a logic model.”  But, having experienced the discovery of program definition and analysis, they will usually play along and appreciate the visual impact of typical logic model formats that I introduce by way of summary.

This contribution is from the aea365 Daily Tips blog, by and for evaluators, from the American Evaluation Association. Please consider contributing – send a note of interest to aea365@eval.org.

2 thoughts on “Michael Duttweiler on Talking Your Way Into a Logic Model”

  1. Hi Michael,

    I also agree this approach works well. I’m currently working with GED instructors at LAYC to create new logic models for the program and align goals accross our different sites. I found that by starting with an everyday example, such as dieting, it helps to warm up people’s minds in thinking about how logic models simply help us articulate and frame a process. By the end of the excercise, they are eager to get going on the actual program…..


  2. Nicole Vicinanza

    Hi Michael: I like your suggestions- I’ve found that this type of approach works really well with folks who are resistant to evaluation- they may not want to talk about logic models, performance measurement or evaluation, but they always want to talk about their program and what it does!

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