A few weeks ago I wrote about evaluating programs designed to solve problems. In the blog I discussed logic models and how they can be used to understand a program, its activities and intended outcomes. Shortly after writing the blog, the U.S. congress began exploring how to define outcomes for the war in Iraq. Setting aside opinions about the war, I found the debate fascinating, particularly because I had just been musing about logic models and how they help me think through problems. Could a logic model be used to define goals, activities and outcomes for the war? Could developing a logic model help two seemingly incompatible points of view come to agreement about the next steps for the war? Is a progress report a good way of measuring the success of the war? Although clearly foreign policy in general and wars in particular are complicated by the unknown responses and actions of other players, I couldn’t help but begin diagramming my questions into a logic model. I guess I am not immune to seeing things through the lens of my discipline! I mentioned our work with Safe Schools/Healthy Students grantees in Spring Lake Park, Northwestern Minnesota, and a cross-site research project for most of Minnesota's grantees before. In the recently released RFP for new grants, applicants are required to submit a logic model of their program. Although competition this year is expected to be very strong (there will likely be close to 500 applicants for approximately 20-30 funded grants), a strong logic model can help guide the rest of the grant narrative. This approach worked for Performing Arts Workshop when applying for their U.S. Department of Education Arts in Education Model Development and Dissemination grant; they were able to include input from schools, artists and program staff in the goals, outcomes and measures for their ARISE project. Please feel free to contact us to talk about developing a logic model for a grant application.