Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Your Online Source for Credible Health Information
Division of Adolescent and School Health — Logic Model Magic Tutorial
Back     Next          Home     Menu     Tools     Glossary     Help     Print

Reading a Logic Model

Checking the Links

Face shot of a professional-looking woman After we developed our five-year logic model, we needed to check the logical links to be sure it made sense and aligned with our new five-year strategic plan. We accomplished this by “reading” our logic model.

There are different approaches to reading a logic model: one moves from left to right and is known as the “If-Then” approach; the other moves from right to left and is known as the “Reverse Logic” or “how” approach. You can use either method to ensure that the items in each column logically connect to the items in the next column.


Start on the far left-hand side with inputs and think in terms of “If-Then” statements as you work from the left to the right of your logic model.

Oops! You must enable JavaScript in your browser to view the Flash content.

[The animation demonstrates the “If-Then” process for reading a logic model, starting with inputs and moving from left to right as the user thinks in terms of If-Then statements.

  1. Certain resources are needed to operate your program. [Inputs]
  2. If you have access to them, then you can implement your chosen strategies/activities. [Strategies/Activities]
  3. If you implement your strategies/activities, then you will produce a certain amount of intended product or service. [Outputs]
  4. If you produce the intended products and services, then, over time, your targeted population should benefit in certain ways. [Short-term, Intermediate, and Long-term Outcomes]
  5. If these benefits are achieved, then certain changes in organizations, communities, or systems might be expected to occur. [Overall Program Goal]

Reverse Logic

Begin with the long-term outcomes at the right-hand side and work backwards, asking, “How will we accomplish this?”

Oops! You must enable JavaScript in your browser to view the Flash content.

[This activity is designed to reinforce the "Reverse Logic" approach to constructing a logic model by illustrating how to identify Outputs, Activities, and Inputs using the approach.

  • With your overall program goal statement in mind, ask yourself the following questions:
    “How will we know we accomplished this:
    1. a. in 4 to 6 years” (long-term outcomes)
    2. b. in 3 to 5 years?” (intermediate outcomes)
    3. c. in 1 to 3 years?” (short-term outcomes)
  • Look at your outcomes and ask yourself: “How much service or product will be needed to accomplish these outcomes?” These are your outputs.
  • Considering these outputs, ask yourself: “Which strategies/activities will produce these outputs?” These are your chosen strategies/activities.
  • When considering these strategies/activities, ask yourself: “How will we implement these?” and “What do we need?” These are the inputs.]


Back 8 of 14 Next