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Structures vary among logic models. This post presents an alternative structure for logic models as part of a series about logic models and competitive grant seeking. Other posts discuss the uses of logic models throughout proposal planning and project implementation, types of logic models, typical elements in logic models, samples of logic models, and other topics.


Alternative Logic Model Structure

Although their configurations and their labels do vary widely, most logic models have six basic elements. What follows is a second (alternative) structure for the basic elements of a logic model. In it, the first two elements focus on what you plan to do. The others focus on what is to happen both while and after it is done.


The National Science Foundation (NSF) presents an instructive alternative structure for analyzing the elements of a basic logic model:


Inputs: What resources will be used to support the project?


Activities: What are the primary things the project will do or provide?


Outputs: How many and what sorts of observable and/or tangible results will be achieved?


Short-Term (or Immediate) Outcomes: What will occur as a direct result of the inputs and activities (typically in terms of changes in knowledge, skills, and attitudes)?


Mid-Term (or Intermediate) Outcomes: What results should follow from the initial outcomes (typically in terms of changes in behavior, policies, practice?)


Long-Term (or Ultimate) Outcomes or Impacts: What results should follow from the initial outcomes (typically stated in terms of changes in broader conditions?)


The time flow in a basic logic model reads from left to right [See: W.K. Kellogg Foundation, Logic Model Development Guide (2006), p. 1. These elements can be organized in a six-column table:


Logic Model Graphic3


Research Performance Model

Not every logic model is strictly linear. Scientific research is an iterative process. A research project has feedback loops between its input and activities, its research design and implementation, and its results and its outputs. In addition, the outputs of one research activity often serve as the inputs for a subsequent activity. Such circuits can repeat until a research project yields reliable results.


For more discussion of logic models, readers may want to visit the National Science Foundation’s Advanced Technological Education (ATE), the Southwest Educational Development Laboratory (SEDL), and the W.K. Kellogg Foundation’s Logic Model Development Guide (2006).




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  1. […] the utility of logic modelsin project planning. GrantResultshas an eight-part series (2016) about using logic modelsin writing proposals and in implementing funded […]

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