Two Courses Representing Overlapping Bryn Mawr Co

Two Courses Representing Overlapping Bryn Mawr Co

Two Courses Representing Overlapping Bryn Mawr Co

When considering the implication of using only a logic model to guide a program evaluation it is necessary to examine the purpose and features of a logic model. The visualization of the program element in a simple and interrelated diagram that one finds in a logic model is helpful in visualizing the many elements of  a program. However, for it to be useful in this broad visualization, it is inherently without some detail.

Patton (2012) states, “a logic model is a way of depicting the program intervention by specifying inputs, activities, outputs, outcomes, and impacts in a sequential series” (p. 232). This description helps us see the visible and measurable elements that are elements of the program. What we cannot see within the logic model falls into three categories, what preceded this model, how the model of this program interacts with other models, and what may follow.

In the  creation of a logic model there are assumptions and decisions that impact the resulting model. For example, who was included in the creation of the model, what questions and focus guided the creation, and how the stakeholders affect what is represented in the model to name just a few. The work and decisions that were made in the step that led to the creation of the model are not evident in the final product but offer great insight into the program. Using only a logic model to evaluate a program would only provide a glimpse into the reality of the program.

Logic models do include assumptions and external factors, but it is also important to consider how different programs, or elements of the same program, interact with each other and thus impact the effectiveness of each program. This interplay between elements or programs would not be evident in the logic model of one program or program component.

Program models link factors but do not organize outcome data. While anticipated outcomes, either short, medium, or long term, are detailed, logic models do not assess and evaluate whether these outcomes have been realized. In addition, program evaluation models do contain units of measure. While outcomes may be noted, the degree to which they were or were not attained are not present on a logic model.

As my understanding of logic models grows, I am certain I will find additional reasons why they should not be the primary tool an evaluator uses in a program evaluation. I think of the logic model as zooming in and out of a picture to make sense of it. Sometimes seeing the whole picture adds clarity but zooming in can give the detail needed to make sense of the whole. Without out the ability to do both, zoom in for detail and view the whole picture as one, it can be challenging to make sense of the whole picture. A logic model provides only one of these two functions, but both are required for a comprehensive understanding.

(work 2)

Question:

“If an evaluator used only a logic model to guide their evaluation what deficits would be created due to limiting their work to only the logic model examples – missing opportunities to gather data or involve stakeholders etc…”

Answer:

Not surprisingly, experience shows that best results are achieved when groups of staff and relevant stakeholders work together in developing the logic model (Taylor-Powell, Jones & Henert, 2002). Moreover Patton (2012) argues:

“Methodological appropriateness is the utilization focused gold standard. In practice this means if evaluators are to involve intended users in methods decisions, evaluators and intended users need to understand paradigm-based methods debates and evaluators need to be able to facilitate choices that are appropriate to a particular evaluation’s purpose. This means educating primary stakeholders about the legitimate options available, the strengths and weaknesses of various approaches, the potential advantages and the costs of using multiple mixed methods, and the controversies that surround such choices.” (p. 287-288)

I am wondering if understanding and engaging with stakeholders to this end can be achieved through ethnographic “eyes?” If an ethnographic lens is used to focus the logic model and associated methods, I argue the model that results has the potential to be liberating rather than laden with deficits. A “good” logic model is an elegant summary of a rich process.

Like others here, I am taking this course simultaneously as I take Research Design in Education. I acknowledge I am risking enmeshing the two and I know I may be critiqued for doing so, but I find the two courses representing overlapping modes of inquiry from different origins with diverse but sometimes similar intentions such as social justice impact. Here is another example, I can see using a kind of logic model while planning my dissertation. One of the most important things I am learning from preparing to apply a logic model whether for program evaluation or dissertation planning is both the layering together then teasing apart of outcome and impact. Outcome is consequences for people (e.g., increased knowledge; changes in attitudes, behavior, etc.). While impact is the net causal effects of the program beyond its immediate results. Impact evaluation often involves a comparison of what appeared after the program with what would have appeared without the program. (Taylor-Powell, Jones & Henert, 2002). I imagine too, both research and program development ultimately strive for significant impact.

References

Taylor-Powell, E., Jones, L., & Henert, E. (2002) Enhancing program performance with logic models. Retrieved September 23, 2020, from the University of Wisconsin-Extension web site: http://lmcourse.ces.uwex.edu/

Patton, M. (2012). Essentials of utilization focused evaluation. Sage.