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Some useful (and very readable) guides to building logic models

January 5, 2017

The first thing to know about logic models is there is no right logic model. You'll want to try out a few and see what works best for your program and your organization. 


Here are a handful of short and readable guides to building logic models that demonstrate different formats and approaches. 



Chan, P., Cohen, P., Hattemer, K., Hoagland, E., & Mcguinness, E. (2015). Tracking financial capacbility: Build your logic model. Washington, DC. Retrieved from CFED Website:


The CFED guide to logic model building is designed specifically for programs that focus on financial capacity-building. The model applies to other contexts. The provided template includes statement of the situation (need) and goal of the program. It also spells out assumptions behind the program design and conditions that are necessary for success. The guide describes very clearly the difference between outcomes and outputs in language that can be applied to any educational or human services program.


Innovation Network. (n.d.). Logic model workbook. Washington, DC. Retrieved from Innovation Network Website:


This guide is the most comprehensive of the ones reviewed here. It is written to apply to any type of program with multiple examples drawn from different areas. It details the uses of your logic model and how to customize it for different audiences and applications. This guide also includes a workbook and links to online tools. Its guidance on how to phrase the content of your logic model – including what level of detail to include – are very useful.


Milwaukee Public Schools Research and Development. (2014). A guide for developing logic models through a program theory of change. Milwaukee. Retrieved from Milwaukee Publich Schoosl Website:


This model is designed specifically for educational programs but the model can be generalized to other contexts. The Milwaukee guide describes logic models as a series of if-then statements that are easy to understand. It bases the development of the logic model on an articulated theory of change and emphasizes making assumptions explicit and addressing external factors. The guide provides clear guidance on the order in which elements should be developed – not left to right! It also emphasizes including stakeholders in the process with descriptions of who you might include in your process. It also describes how research can support the development and implementation of your logic model.


Taylor-Powell, E. (2011). Logic Model Workshop. South Carolina State University. Retrieved from South Carolina State University Website:


This is the most concise of the guides here, and is written in the form of a PowerPoint presentation. It provides multiple clear examples for a variety of service areas. In this model, activities and participation are included under outputs, which is slightly different from other models and might be clearer for some readers. Its strength is in articulating clearly the importance of identifying the target population.

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