A development of a logic model is crucial in the process to design and selected effective strategies for your community. Good logic models have four key components. These components can be included in any of the variety of logic model styles or formats. Regardless of the format chosen, a coalition should be careful to include the four essential components in the picture or the logic model will not effectively serve its intended purposes.
The effort to create a picture of the community’s problem and how the coalition can make a difference pays many dividends. A logic model can quickly communicate the problems in the community. It can help ensure the best match between strategies and their intended effects. A logic model will often reveal where data are needed or missing. The logic model serves as the framework for planning a coalition evaluation and interpreting results. Logic models are the busy intersection that connects coalition planning, implementation, and evaluation.


Problem/Goal Statement

First, any logic model should include the ultimate goal or problem. Second, logic models should include the root causes of the community problem. Third, the local conditions that maintain or contribute to root causes should be listed. Finally, data or measurements for each of these three should be included.

Root Causes

Root causes are the reasons a problem exists; they explain why the problem is happening. Root causes are often called risk or protective factors. There are usually multiple root causes for any given community problem. The fact that community issues are complex is another reason logic models are important. Good logic models help the community appreciate complex issues by providing a visual picture that can be understood by everyone.

Local Conditions

The third element is a listing of the local conditions related to each of the root causes. The local conditions represent what the root cause “looks like” in the community. Both root causes and local conditions are usually identified through a problem analysis. Including local conditions is part of how communities make a logic model their own. Most community members do not want to see a generic or theoretical picture of a problem. What community members and leaders want to see is their own community in any picture that claims to explain a problem they care about and want to change.

To change or alter a root cause, there are usually multiple local conditions that must be addressed by a coalition. Again, this highlights the important role that a clear picture can play in creating a better understanding of complex issues. Including local conditions in the coalition’s logic model helps educate the community about what must change. This complex web of causes and local conditions can be difficult to explain without using a picture or logic model.

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