Logic Models are tools used to assist in program planning, implementation, management and evaluation. Your logic model provides a visual of the program's Theory of Change. Your theory of change is thought of as: why and how program activities lead to achievement of program goals and objectives. The basic logic model consists of Inputs, Activities, & Outcomes:
Before tackling your outcome evaluation, think through your process evaluation questions. Generally, there are two types of questions addressed by process evaluations:
Some general principles of outcome evaluation to consider are that the more rigorous the design, the more plausible the resulting estimate of the program effects. The more reliable and valid the measurements used, the more plausible the results. The larger the sample, the more likely the program can show significant effects or the greater statistical power you have. When deciding what to measure, focus only on things related to your program objectives/outcomes or program theory and logic model. Also consider what is most important to the various program stakeholders (sometimes funders will dictate certain performance measures to grantees). Finally, only measure what is possible and practical. Remember, not everything needs to be measured and not everything is measurable.
Outcome measurement can tell us several things some typical outcome measurement questions are:
Data Sources and Measures
Once you have identified the process and outcome evaluation questions you want to ask, you need to think about the variables or data elements you will need to answer these research questions. The next step is to determine from where you will get these variables or data elements, for example, consumer characteristics may come from intake assessments and change in functioning from standardized clinical assessment instruments. Then you need to identify who will collect these data and when they will be collected - typically at intake and case closure. Most standardized instruments have set administration schedules (quarterly, every six months). Some additional measurement tips:
Evaluation Design and Data Analysis Plan
The last component of your evaluation section is the evaluation design and data analysis plan. If your organization does not have expertise in this area you may want to consult an experienced evaluator for assistance with this section. Feel free to contact Crystal Mills, Director of Inter-Professional Research for Eastern Michigan University's College of Health and Human Services or the RAC for technical assistance. (See also the technical assistance request form A link to a pdf file is present. on this website). However, simple evaluation designs can be developed by persons with little or no experience. The gold standard is experimental designs using random assignment. The types of questions experimental designs can answer include: