Logic modelling video transcript

[The speaker is Duncan Rintoul, Principal Project Officer, Evaluation Capacity Building at the Centre for Education Statistics and Evaluation.]

[The setting is against a plain backdrop with Duncan speaking directly to camera]

Have you ever been part of a project or in a work team where you weren’t entirely clear about … the end game? What it’s all for, and how all this work we’re doing is supposed to get us there.

There might be a clear statement of purpose or intent, even a detailed list of goals and objectives and it all seems reasonable enough. But when you drill into it, it starts to get a bit slippery in your fingers.

This objective here, number 4 – what does that really mean? What would that look like in practice? And come to think of it, it’s pretty similar to number 7. Is that a different outcome? Or is this just two different ways of expressing the same thing? Maybe one leads to the other? Or it’s a less developed version of the other? Or is it the other way round?

Well, this is where logic modelling comes in. Logic modelling is a tool that helps us make our thinking about outcomes … explicit. It brings all our expectations and our assumptions about cause and effect to the surface, so we can talk about them – question them – test them.

The elements we include in a logic model depend a bit on how detailed we need it to be. But, at a minimum we want to cover off on our needs, inputs, activities and outcomes. What’s the nature of the problem, the issues that we’re trying to do something about? What are the root causes of that? And which particular bits of the problem are we trying to tackle?

There are different techniques we can use for problem analysis or needs assessment, different sources of evidence we might draw on. The important thing is to do that thinking, and write it down. If we don’t have a clear sense of what’s wrong with the status quo, it’s pretty hard to design a good response or know whether we’re making a difference.

The inputs are all the resources that we’re bringing to bear on the problem. This isn’t just new money, although of course funding may be involved. It’s also time, expertise from people on the ground, infrastructure, space, partnerships, all the ingredients that we’re using to bake this cake.

The activities well that’s all the work – it’s the action: Who is doing what, with whom? Where is this happening? When? How much of it are they doing? How often? At what level of depth or quality? Now, the detail of this is what you’d expect to see in a work plan, with timelines, deliverables, reporting requirements and so on. But the high level would go into your logic model.

And that takes us to the outcomes – the positive changes that we’re trying to bring about. That’s important to be specific here. When we do all this work … what do we expect will happen next? And then what happens, as a result of that? What’s our pathway of impact? A plausible chain of cause and effect. Teasing out the outcomes into short, medium, long term and mapping them to our activities like this is terrifically useful. If something doesn’t quite stack up in the logic, that will quickly become apparent to us, and it will give us a trigger to rethink that strategy, improve the design of our work, give us a better chance of making that difference.

The other great benefit of a logic model is it helps us know what to measure in our evaluation so we can capture meaningful data about the impact of our work.

For more go to the CESE website, cese.nsw.gov.au you’ll find guidelines, templates and more videos in this series.

(CESE: Centre for Education Statistics and Evaluation)

End of transcript.

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