The Logframe (short for Logical Framework Analysis) is a management instrument widely used in the development sector for planning, monitoring and evaluation. It presents the planned results in the format of a matrix, with indicators at input, output, outcome and impact level.

 

An example of a Logframe (source: Tools4dev)

How do ToC and the Logframe Relate – and Differ?

The terminology used in Logframe and ToC approaches is similar but there are important distinctions. The Hivos ToC Guidelines offer an in-depth comparison.

Logframe Intervention logic or result chain Theory of Change
Structure Matrix Pathways System, including pathways
Mindset Language suggests implementers are in control and can predict or promise what will happen over time An adaptive learning approach, with room for critical thinking, complexity and deep questioning
Rationale Limited to four levels Includes intermediate results Includes intermediate results
Causal relationships Limited attention to causal relations Yes, builds pathways Yes, builds pathways
Dynamism No, encourages linear thinking Can include parallel result chains and feedback mechanisms Includes parallel result chains and feedback mechanisms
Context Limited attention to context Can include external factors Yes, context specific
Assumptions Yes, but generally focuses only on assumptions about external conditions Generally not included and if they are, they are often not context-specific Yes, articulates context-specific assumptions underlying the strategic thinking
Does it look beyond the intervention? No, perspective is limited to the intervention No, perspective is limited to the intervention Yes, has a broader view on the surrounding context and assumptions, and also looks at other actors in relationship to the vision of success
In sum Shows what has happened, but not how or why it has happened Shows what has happened and how it has happened Shows what, how, and why¸ something has happened (or why not) and in which context

 

Logframe is driven largely by its form – a matrix structure. This matrix encourages linear thinking about change. Language used and associated with the Logframe, such as ‘planning’ and ‘delivering’ results, suggests project implementers are in control of the situation and can predict or promise what will happen over time. The three result levels of the Logframe leave no room for intermediate steps. This pushes the users to make wide conceptual leaps and does not encourage them to question the feasibility and plausibility of the envisaged change process. There is limited attention for assumptions underlying the strategic thinking and assumed causal relations between result levels. An evaluation based on a logframe shows what has happened, but not how or why it has happened.

An intervention logic or result chain is an expansion of a logframe. It is more flexible, can include intermediate results, parallel result chains, feedback mechanisms and external factors. Generally assumptions are not included and if they are, they are often not context-specific. We see a result chain as an essential part of a ToC; they make up the impact ways (without assumptions) within a larger ToC. An evaluation based on an intervention logic shows what has happened and how it has happened.

A Theory of Change starts from the premise that social change processes are complex and unpredictable, that different perspectives exist on what needs to change and why, and that a full analysis of the context of a change intervention and of the assumptions underlying its design are crucial to enhance its chance of success. A ToC is not limited to the intervention, but has a broader view on the surrounding context and assumptions. An evaluation based on a ToC shows what, how, and why¸ something has happened (or why not) and in which context.

ToCs are partly a response to the recognition that other, more linear, approaches such as the Logical Framework, insufficiently account for the dynamics (linkages, diversity of actors, interdependencies, multiple relevant levels of analysis, etc.) within a change process. ToCs offer a means of reflecting about and clarifying how we think the system will change; what factors may trigger the change, and which persons or organisations can act as change agents.

Using the two approaches together…?

Despite the differences, the logframe and ToC can be used together. Many donors ask for proposals that contain logframes for planning, monitoring and evaluation. When a team conducts a full ToC analysis in the design phase, it will have all the information needed to develop a Logframe that is as realistic as possible.

However, we encourage taking monitoring and evaluation further than just monitoring in order to meet the information needs of the logframe-based proposal. It will benefit the initiative immensely if the team uses the full ToC as the basis for tracking and learning about the change processes as they unfold, and for strategic reflection. Doing so will also provide the information and arguments to explain necessary adaptations to the donor.

Philanthropy Canvas

An instrument outside of development economics that has some similarities to the logframe approach, is the Philanthropy Canvas, which was developed by GrandCraft and Rockefeller Philanthropy Advisors.M. Berman, J. Franklin & D. Major (2017) ‘Frameworks for Private Foundations: A New Model for Impact’ GrandCraft and Rockefeller Philanthropy Advisors. It looks holistically at an organisation (focusing on foundations) and produces an actionable model around change:

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