Social Outcomes Measurement Methodologies

SocialsuiteFrameworks, Social Outcomes Measurement

You know what outcomes measurement is, but you aren’t sure where or how to get started. The next step is to understand the different outcomes methodologies and to create your own outcomes measurement framework and data collection plan (either in-house or with a consultant).

Program Logic / Logic Models

One of the most commonly used methodologies is Program Logic (also known as logic map, outcomes logic, logic model or outcomes map). Program Logic is designed by a service or program to set out what activities will be delivered, how, and what outcomes are expected to occur.

Typically, Program Logic consists of inputs, activities, outputs, and outcomes. Outcomes can be split into short, medium and long-term outcomes.

Program Logic is built on the concept of cause and effect: program activities with the right inputs will result in short-term outcomes which, in turn, ultimately lead to medium and long-term outcomes. Our 6 Step Quick Start Guide has more information on Program Logic with examples that will help you develop your own!

Theory of Change

Similar to Program Logic, Theory of Change is a process organisations use to establish the pathways they need to take to contribute to long-term outcomes. Unlike Program Logic, the process works in reverse – firstly identifying the outcome and then deciding what inputs, activities, and outputs are required to achieve the outcomes.

Developing a Theory of Change begins with an analysis of the socio-political and environmental issues to help identify the desired long-term outcome that a program is set to influence. The final step is to develop a sequence of events comprised of activities and outputs that are likely to achieve the desired outcome. Traditionally, Theory of Change has been used by initiatives working to create community-level change.

Finding the Golden Thread – Social Ventures Australia

Social Ventures Australia has developed a tool to help services develop their program logic statement, allowing their efforts to focus on the activities that produce the most outcomes. The Golden Thread methodology follows a clear 3 step process – developing a program map, prioritising, and preparing the program logic statement. This article explains the method in detail and illustrates real-life examples of how it was used.

Social Return on Investment (SROI)

The SROI methodology uses a specific formula to measure the return on investment of social services. Social value is the value put on social and economic outcomes that may be achieved by a service user as a result of a specific program. By applying Social Value Principles, SROI methodology can capture the value of social change in market prices although not all social return is measured this way. Learn about SROI here.

Results Based Accountabilitytm

Results Based Accountabilitytm is another widely used framework. The RBAtm framework follows a 7-question process to establish appropriate outcome measures for programs and how those programs contribute to population-level outcomes. Learn more about RBAtm here.

In-House Custom Framework

Some organisations choose to create their own custom framework in-house if they feel that a single methodology is not meeting their specific program needs. The custom framework may contain aspects of different methodologies featured above, or they may be a completely new creation. Creating a framework from scratch can be time consuming for smaller services, so custom frameworks are usually developed by organisations who have a large internal Monitoring and Evaluation teams, or who have access to external consultants.

Next Steps

Now that you are aware of the different outcome measurement methodologies, it is time to pick one that aligns with your organisation’s purpose and start building your data collection plan.

If you would like some support with getting started, please contact Maya Romic and she will connect you with our extensive network of outcomes measurement consultants.

Find more resources on Socialsuite’s resources page.

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