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Template: Constructing a program logic table

The template for constructing a program logic table can be used with the conceptual models already developed to analyse the issues and detail how best to address them and evaluate performance.

A program logic table can be constructed for a project or program and provide a detailed outline of the thinking behind them. In particular, it clearly records the expectations, needs and assumptions that led to the development of the project or program. This information will be invaluable in informing evaluations, with specific lines of the program logic table applying to specific types of evaluation.

The template can be used to:

  • consider appropriate responses to issues and drivers during preparation of a catchment plan
  • reach consensus on the desired objectives and strategies required to achieve those objectives
  • identify the causal means by which objectives can be achieved (using a results hierarchy)
  • identify priority projects for further investigation as part of an evaluation case study
  • identify factors that may be outside the control of a CMA but will still have an impact on its ability to achieve CAP objectives
  • demonstrate progress towards long-term outcomes as part of the reporting process
  • define specific evaluation questions
  • provide an easy-to-read summary of complex programs.

The results hierarchy illustrates the expected relationship between the activities and the desired outcome of a project or program. It assumes that deploying inputs will lead first to 'outputs', then to 'outcomes' at progressively higher levels. The program logic table expands on detail at each level of the results hierarchy.

Constructing a program logic table template (0973programlogic.doc; 43 KB)

Note: The attached template file is in Word format. Click on the link to view the document on screen. To download it, right click on the link and select 'Save target as'.

Using the template

The program logic template can be used to record project or program details for an evaluation. Each column of the suggested program logic table is explained below, together with the information to be included in it.

Outcome or planned results
  • Starting point for thinking about what the project or program is aiming to achieve
  • Demonstration of intended relationship among levels in the hierarchy
  • Foundation for developing success criteria and performance information
Success factors

This column is important in cases where the interpretation of the objectives is obscure.

  • Important characteristics for knowing whether success has been achieved for each level of the hierarchy
  • Information needs are identified from these questions which form the foundation of the evaluation
  • Discussion about success factors can start to identify assumptions and key evaluation questions
Performance measures
  • Identifies the most important aspects of the project or program that should be measured to address the evaluation questions or success criteria
  • Information that will enable an assessment of progress towards meeting targets may be a performance measure (e.g. hectares of native vegetation) or a combination of information to be used to answer evaluation question(s) such as project management-based information
  • Qualitative and/or quantitative information could be involved
  • Ensures that information is collected on what needs to be known rather than just collecting a lot of information

Assumptions will also need to be considered when defining the performance measures.

Basis for comparison
  • May include trends over time and the use of baselines, targets, standards or benchmarks
  • Adds meaning to performance information
  • Should allow change to be measured, adding meaning to evaluation findings
Internal and external risks

These are factors or risks that affect the project or program outcomes.

  • Internal: within the control of a project or program, e.g. staff training or management systems
  • External: outside the control of a project or program but sometimes open to influence, e.g. politics, demographics, economy or climate

The potential impact of these may also need to be considered during the evaluation.

Assumptions and/or comments
  • Describes assumptions made when developing the hierarchy or CAP strategies
  • May be important to monitor as part of evaluation and will form some of the specific evaluation questions, e.g. the major impact on an estuary is the sediment load from the upstream catchments rather than the point sources around the estuary

The following lines of the program logic table are most likely to be relevant for each type of evaluation used in the evaluation framework:

Lines of program logic used to inform evaluation

Type of evaluation

Needs and intermediate outcomes or high-level outcomes

Appropriateness evaluations

Inputs and outputs

Efficiency evaluations

High-level and intermediate outcomes

Effectiveness evaluations

 

Page last updated: 27 February 2011