We’re continuing our series on how to create a logic model for your youth work programs – you can find the different parts of the series below:
- Part 1 – What Is A Logic Model?
- Part 2 – this week
- Part 3 – Risk & Protective Factors
- Part 4 – Interventions & Programs
- Part 5 – A Recap
The first part of a logic model is identifying the problems that the youth in your organization and/or community are exhibiting and the negative behaviors that may be the result of those issues. Problem behaviors are, simply put, the things you can see that show that youth are making poor choices and/or feeling helpless or hopeless.
Problem behaviors may include drugs, drunk driving, suicides, cutting class, dropping out of school, fighting and much more. You’re not going to be looking at the possible causes at this point – that comes next week when we look at risk and protective factors.
In order to find out the problems and behaviors, you’ll want to gather both qualitative (the actual numbers) and quantitative (the stories/case studies) data. In terms of best practice, when it comes to community development principles you want to do your research into the statistics provided about a local area. You also need to do a needs assessment, including input from members of the community you’re interested in working with. This post won’t be exhaustive on the subject of research methodology, so I recommend Ground Rules for Good Research which helped me through my research methods module.
Quantitative Data – Numbers, Facts and Statistics
You can find out the quantitative data for an area in a number of ways – here are just a few:
- Census data
- Government websites and research
- Questionnaires with numerical scales
Qualitative Data – Stories and Case Studies
A few ways to get qualitative data include:
- Questionnaires with fill-in-the-blank sections
- Focus groups
- Town Hall meetings and/or forums
That’s not to say that you can’t get qualitative data from website research or quantitative data from focus groups, but some research methods are better suited to capturing data one way than another.
Using my own area and needs assessment for our logic model example, the first part of our model will include Teen Pregnancy, Substance Abuse and Low Graduation Rates. We found through a community needs assessment in 2011 that both data and community members identified these as the top three problems in our local area.
We actually had about 15 different identified problems affecting our youth, but narrowed them down to 6 and then 3 in which to focus our efforts. SAMHSA identifies that you can narrow these down by deciding what the largest problems are (through statistical and community data), how long it’s been happening and whether it’s getting worse, how serious the problem is and how it compares to other data.
Here is what the first part of our logic model will look like:
Next week we’ll look at the Risk and Protective Factors that may be influencing the behaviors in your area, as well as how they might help or hinder the programs and events that you decide to provide in order to address the problems.
Question: What are some of the problems and behaviors you’ve identified for young people in your local community? We’d love to hear about your research in the comments below.
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