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Logic Models—Tools to Bridge the Theory-Research-Practice Divide

Chén C. Kenyon, MD, MSHP1; Deepak Palakshappa, MD1; Chris Feudtner, MD, PhD, MPH1
[+] Author Affiliations
1Department of Pediatrics, The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia and Perelman School of Medicine, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia
JAMA Pediatr. 2015;169(9):801-802. doi:10.1001/jamapediatrics.2015.1365.
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This Viewpoint suggests that logic models applied by investigators may provide a supportive trestle in bridging theoretical interventions and real-world applications.

Clinical investigators must confront the challenge of developing interventions that are based on sound theory and can be implemented in real-world settings. In research, the standard tool to help address the sound theory component of this challenge is the conceptual model, which can be useful in relating broad theoretical constructs but often lacks the operational specificity to anticipate or explain potential intervention outcomes in real life. To adequately identify and account for the complexity of most interventions—which can range from the administration of a single medication to a multifaceted program—and how their results may be affected by conditions in the field, we need other tools. The logic model is a tool often relegated to program evaluation that clinicians and researchers can use in designing and interpreting the results of interventions. In this commentary, we define logic models and discuss their potential value in bridging the theory-research-practice divide frequently encountered in medicine.

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Figure.
Logic Model for an Asthma Controller Medication Adherence Intervention

Logic model components overlay the related theoretical constructs (given in the shaded areas) from the Children’s Health Belief Model.5 The Hawthorne effect, or observer effect, is a behavioral phenomenon in which individuals act differently than usual when they are aware that their behavior is being observed. CHW indicates community health care worker; ICS, inhaled corticosteroid.

aThe example intervention and logic model did not use this construct.

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