Lifting the lens: developing a logic for a complicated policy

The impetus for this article comes from the authors’ experience of developing an intervention logic during a two-year evaluation of a complicated government policy. It describes how traditional program logic modelling, that is, an approach to identifying program inputs and outcomes that is usually done at the beginning of an evaluation, failed to conceptualise the policy adequately. The article also shows how traditional logic modelling, which is based on linear and unidirectional approaches, failed to portray some of the complicated aspects of the policy. Our approach - an intervention logic grounded in evidence - provides a more in-depth understanding of how the policy components work together. In doing so, the logic became a vehicle to reconceptualise the policy through presenting an alternative perspective to understanding and communicating the policy.


  • A complicated policy
  • Table 1: Features of RSE as a complicated policy
  • The evaluation
  • Initial logic model
  • Analysis of participants' experiences of RSE
  • Figure 1: Initial logic model developed for the RSE policy
  • Developing a 'grounded' logic
  • Figure 2: Logic depicting high-level intervention theory
  • Discussion
  • Approach to logic model development
  • Limitations of traditional logics for complicated policy
  • Portraying complication
  • Limitations of the logic
  • Conclusion
  • Appendix: Primary RSE participants and their relationships


Roorda, M. & Nunns, H. (2009) Lifting the lens: developing a logic for a complicated policy. Refereed article. Evaluation Journal of Australasia, Vol. 9, No. 2, 2009, pp. 24-32. Retrieved from (archived link)

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