State of the current discussion about different types of outcomes models

There is ongoing discussion in outcomes and evaluation circles about the various ways in which outcomes models should be structured. My summary of the current state of this discussion is: 

  1. There are a range of different ways of drawing such models which attempt to describe the outcomes and steps being used within interventions. 

  2. Such models can be in: narrative text, tables, visual models or mathematical format.

  3. There are many different names for these models and these names do not necessarily signify models with entirely different rules for modeling (that is, people might draw models structured in different ways but call them by the same name and people might draw models structured in the same way but call them by different names). However the term ‘logic model’ is (by at least a number of people) often taken to mean a model structured under headings similar to: inputs, activities, outputs, outcomes.

  4. In addition to logic models, the names that are used for such models include: theories of change, program theories, strategy maps, strategy models, intervention logics, outcomes models, outcomes chains, outcomes hierarchies, strategy models, program logics, results chains, log-frames (a very specific type of tabular format used in international development).

  5. There are potential pros and cons associated with different ways of drawing such models and different types of models may be of more, or less, use for different purposes.

Comparison of two types of models 

All of these different types of models can be drawn in DoView® software.* I’ve just written an article comparing the pros and cons of just two of these types of models. The first type are the Traditional Inputs/Activities/Outputs/Outcomes Logic Models. These structure the model out under inputs etc. (or similar) headings for either the rows or columns within the model. They often also have a table associated with them to set out the assumptions underpinning the program. 

This traditional logic model is compared with the Duignan Multi-Layered Outcomes Model. This is a model drawn according to the 13 Outcomes Modeling Rules developed within outcomes theory

The Chocolate Chip Cookie workshop exercise - in which a model is built for the process of cooking Chocolate Chip Cookies - used by outcomes and evaluation trainers is used to illustrate and discuss the differences between these two types of modeling. Below is a model for the exercise using the traditional logic model format.


The second type of model for the same exercise - a Duignan multi-layered model - is shown below. Click through the drill-down webpage version to see the detail set out on the different layers. 


The full article talks about the pros and cons of these two different types of modeling.

You can find the full article here on Linkedin Pulse.


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* Full disclosure: Dr Paul Duignan is involved in the development of DoView® software.

Dr Paul Duignan.