Logic Modelling – Outcomes

This post is one of a series linked to The Logic Model – getting a social return on investement?

Perhaps the most difficult element of the entire Logic Model rests with the definition of an outcome. 

Here are two definitions from the University of Wisconsin and The Kellog’s Foundation:

University of Wisconsin 

  1. Outcomes are the value or changes for individuals, families, groups, agencies, businesses, communities, and/or systems.
  2. Outcomes include short-term benefits such as changes in awareness, knowledge, skills, attitudes, opinions and intent.
  3. Outcomes include medium-term benefits such as changes in behaviors, decision-making and actions.
  4.  Outcomes include long-term benefits (often called impact) such as changes in social, economic, civic, and environmental conditions.

Kellog’s Foundation 

  1. Outcomes determine the extent to which progress is being made toward the desired changes in individuals, organizations, communities, or systems.
  2. Outcome questions seek to document the changes that occur in your community as a result of your program.
  3. Usually these questions generate answers about effectiveness of activities in producing changes in magnitude or satisfaction with changes related to the issues central to your program. 

I’m particularly attracted to the notion of short, medium and long term outcomes. Where short term benefits relate to learning, medium term benefits relate to changes in behaviour, and long-term benefits relate to changes in social conditions (which links back my starting point of a Social Return on Investment.


As I’ve been working through these series of posts over the holiday period I’ve relied more and more heavilyy upon the outstanding resources provided by the University of Wisconsin Program Development and Evaluation Unit. Never before have I come across such a comprehensive and useful learning resource freely available on the web. So much so that my original intention to describe the Logic Model “in my own words” has been rendered superfluous. Nevertheless, It has been an exceptionally useful learning process and has enabled me to really come to grips with a field of study which I believe has enormous potential for those of us involved in public service.

In my last post in this series  I’ll try to use the model – as described by UWEX – to map out an implementation strategy for A Curriculum for Excellence.

I’d like to see if the model also has any potential for teachers planning their work – any takers?

The following extract from their outstanding on-line learning resourcefrom the University of Wisconsin shows the difference between outputs and outcomes.

Outputs vs. Outcomes

Try not to confuse outcomes with outputs. Outputs are the activities we do or accomplish that help achieve outcomes. Outcomes are the results of those activities for individuals, families, groups, or communities. Look at the following examples.
Outputs – Activities Outcomes
  • The program trains and empowers community volunteers.
  • Community volunteers have knowledge and skill to work effectively with at-risk youth.
  • Program staff teach financial management skills to low-income families.
  • Low-income families are better able to manage their resources.
  • The camp experience provides leadership development opportunities for 4-H youth.
  • Campers, aged 12-15 years of age, learn new leadership and communication skills while at camp.
  • An annual conference disseminates the latest forage research.
  • Forage producers in Pasture County know current research information and use it to make informed decisions.
Here’s another way to look at the difference between outputs and outcomes:
  Outputs: Is the client served?   Outcomes:Has the client’s situation improved? (Hatry, 1999)