LOGICAL FRAMEWORK ANALYSIS
by Phil Bartle, PhD
When you are preparing a project or programme design, you might find it useful to make a “Logical Framework Analysis.” Some donor agencies, including the World Bank and CIDA, require a “Logframe” in proposals for funding. For a struggling NGO, therefore, it is useful to know how to go about constructing a Logical Framework Analysis.
A logframe is a table, preferably all on a single page, which identifies the essential elements of a project.
In the “Project Design” training document, we distinguished between “Purpose,” “Goals” and “Objectives.” These range from general to specific, with objectives being the most specific about time, quantity and measurable product of the project. In a logframe, these distinctions are more precise and fine, and use slightly different terms.
It might be useful to think of a programme or a project as something like a factory or a farm. It has “inputs” which are resources that you put into it, and “outputs” which are the desired products you get out of it. Please remember that the word “input” is a noun, ie a thing (or things) not a verb (something you do). It is Bad English (usage, vocabulary, grammar) to use the word “input” as a verb, ie to say “to input” something.
A logframe is very dense and rich, and takes a bit of skill to read, let alone construct. The first time you make one, it may be useful to do it with someone else familiar with your proposed project. It takes time, and it does not read like prose.
The Layout of the LFA (Logical Framework Analysis):
The LFA is usually laid out as a table, with five columns. It is usually presented on a standard sized page (A4 or 8 ½ by 11) situated landscape (horizontally). For larger and complicated projects, it may continue on to further pages, but the optimum frame is a single page.
Across the top are the titles of the five columns, from left to right:
In the first column on the left, under Narrative Summary, there are three cells. They are named, from top to bottom:
If the programme or project has more goals, these three will be repeated, under the first three, a new series of three for each goal.
In the second column from the left, under Expected Results, are three more cells, arranged vertically, which are parallel to the three in the first column on the left. They are named, from top to bottom:
Two words, at first, look similar, outcomes and outputs. An output is a direct product of the programme or project. Using the farm or factory analogy again, it is like the milk or the bicycles. The outcomes, in contrast, are not the direct products of the programme or project, but the effects on the recipient community or beneficiaries. Using the farm or factory analogy, again, the outcomes would include “There is milk for the children to drink”, or “Transportation becomes easier when walking is not the only method.”
In the third column from the left, under Performance Indicators, there are three cells again. They are named, from top to bottom:
An empty frame looks a bit like this:
Logical Framework Analysis
The last two columns, on the right, are Assumptions, then Risks. They each apply to the three first cells on their respective row.
When you write assumptions, you identify things that you expect will remain constant or predictable, as they relate to the topics in the first three columns. There are thousands of things that you assume which are not necessary to include. We assume, for example, that the earth will not be hit by an asteroid which produces a cloud of dust which wipes out all life as we know it. It is not necessary to include such a remote possiblility in the logframe.
We also assume that there will not be a military coup which completely disrupts the economic system. In a country like Canada, however, the possibility is so remote that we need not mention it. In another country, Liberia, for example, we may include it just because there is a slight possibility that it may happen, and therefore disrupt the project. If we are building bicycles, for example, we may assume, or not, that resources such as tube metal, will be available on the market. If we are producing milk, for example, we may assume that an epidemic of hoof and mouth disease will not break out and kill all the cows.
The last or fifth column, Risks, is related to the fourth column, Assumptions. The risk of a military coup in Canada is low, while the risk of one in Liberia is currently still low, but higher than in Canada. Since you identify assumptions and risks as related to the first three columns, those risks and assumptions will be related to each other.
The final logframe, or logical framework, which you create, is much like a project design, but it is arranged in the above format, and is much more condensed and is made so that all the cells and columns in the table are logically related.
Some donor agencies have or require logframe tables that may differ slightly in the number and titles of the columns, but the principles are the same, including density, brevity, and logical relationships between all the cells.
Planning a Project:
© Copyright 1967, 1987, 2007 Phil Bartle