Operational Logic Model
Using guidance from the Futures Workshop along with information from the past planning efforts outlined above, current research activities and outputs, HLR program scientists drafted an operational logic model (View diagram) and four research goals. They are:
- Contribute to the development, implementation, and evaluation of effective hearing loss prevention programs.
- Reduce hearing loss through interventions targeting personal protective equipment.
- Develop engineering controls to reduce noise exposures.
- Contribute to reductions in hearing loss through understanding causative mechanisms.
The operational logic model follows the model of the NIOSH operational logic model and depicts the flow of research and transfer activities for the HLR program, This process proceeds from left to right on the model from inputs through research activities and outputs to customer activities and intermediate outcomes. For the HLR program, end outcomes would be the actual reduction in noise or chemical exposure or in occupational hearing loss itself. However, there is insufficient evidence to evaluate end outcomes or determine whether the HLR program has affected those outcomes to date. The overall program mission is shown on the right. The blocks in the center of the logic model provide details about the general categories (e.g. inputs, outputs, etc.) that are depicted in the boxes across the top. We recognize that the transfer activities shown on the right half of the logic model often involve steps and actions that are beyond our control, and for which we are dependent on customers and other stakeholders. We also recognize that various external factors, represented on the logic model as arrows along the bottom, affect all aspects of the program, from inputs to outcomes. The organization of this evidence package is based on the logic model, and the flow of our efforts as shown in the model.
The four goals that have emerged from the most recent program planning efforts are the goals on which we plan to develop a strategic plan for the future of the HLR program. They include all the work that is ongoing from earlier planning efforts, as well as potential future efforts based on emerging issues. All nine of the research needs from the 1998 Criteria Document are included in the four goals, though some of those nine overlap with more than one goal. For example, the 1998 “Noise Control” need translates directly into the current Research Goal 3 on engineering control of noise. However, the 1998 need “Impulsive Noise” has aspects that fit in both Research Goal 2 on hearing protectors and Research Goal 4 on basic causative mechanisms of hearing loss. Obviously, some of the current research goals include more than one of the 1998 needs topics, e.g., Research Goal 1 on hearing loss prevention programs includes the earlier research needs of “training and motivation” and “program evaluation” and some aspects of “exposure monitoring.”
In summary, a series of at least five planning efforts resulted in the goals that now organize our work. We used them to organize the report of outcomes of the program in this package.