The Logic Model Guidebook: Better Strategies for Great Results (Second Ed.)

By Parsons, Beverly; Jessup, Patricia | The Foundation Review, July 1, 2012 | Go to article overview

The Logic Model Guidebook: Better Strategies for Great Results (Second Ed.)


Parsons, Beverly, Jessup, Patricia, The Foundation Review


The second edition of The Logic Model Guidebook: Better Strategies for Great Results is a straightforward guide, with excellent and varied examples, that achieves its purpose of giving readers a "basic understanding of how to create and use logic models" (p. xii). As enthusiastic champions of logic models, the authors adhere to the assumption that articulating precise and detailed logic models will lead to better results.

Many people are confused about how to develop logic models. The authors have taken on the task of clearing up that confusion by addressing both the construction and application of logic models. The initial chapters of the book help the reader understand both theory-of-change and program logic models. A theory-of-change model represents beliefs about how change will occur. A program logic model "details resources, planned activities, and their outputs and outcomes over time that reflect intended results" (p. 5). Examples are elaborated as they are carried over from one chapter to another in the early part of the book. The authors also wisely emphasize participatory development of models to help ensure that multiple voices are included in the resulting model.

In the final chapters the authors focus on the application of logic models to a variety of situations. The examples illustrate application to evaluation, ways to display logic models, and uses in a wide range of situations and purposes.

In the second edition the authors have included an additional application chapter that includes seven more program profiles.

The numerous examples of actual logic models-with descriptions of how they were developed and used-are noteworthy for their range and variety. They represent current thinking about logic modeling. Readers who carefully review these models are likely to come up with many ideas for developing models that help them improve their strategies for better results.

A strength of The Logic Model Guidebook is that it provides cautions about how one approaches logic models. For example, they note the importance of paying attention to context, attending to systems thinking, and attending to whether a logic model is based on wishful thinking versus solid evidence that a theory of change is realistic. The book could be strengthened by taking this aspect of the book further and critiquing the logic model examples in light of these cautions.

Additionally, it would be helpful for the authors to elaborate more on an assumption that may not be evident to the reader: logic modeling to date is heavily influenced by a linear cause-andeffect way of viewing the world. We appreciate the value of the controlled and predictive causeand- effect orientation of logic models espoused in this guidebook; in many situations, it is a fairly good representation of reality. The difference between this assumption and a systems thinking perspective is worthy of further elaboration. Logic modeling as a whole is in danger of overextending its utility if it does not also consider a systems perspective. Although the authors make mention of systems thinking, a richer discussion of its relevance to logic modeling would strengthen the book.1 For example, such attention would direct the reader to the importance of context, rich displays of interconnections, and including in their models undesired outcomes that are likely to occur when the strategies are implemented.

Throughout the book, the authors use an effective teaching style in which they list learning objectives at the beginning of each chapter and include reflection questions and application exercises at each chapter's end. …

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