Advancing Complexity Theory in Health Services Research: The Logic of Logic Models
Mills, T., Lawton, R. and Sheard, L. (2019). Advancing Complexity Theory in Health Services Research: The Logic of Logic Models. BMC Medical Research Methodology. 19 (55). https://doi.org/10.1186/s12874-019-0701-4
|Mills, T., Lawton, R. and Sheard, L.
Background: Logic models are commonly used in evaluations to represent the causal processes through which interventions produce outcomes, yet significant debate is currently taking place over whether they can describe complex interventions which adapt to context. This paper assesses the logic models used in healthcare research from a complexity perspective. A typology of existing logic models is proposed, as well as a formal methodology for deriving more flexible and dynamic logic models.
Analysis: Various logic model types were tested as part of an evaluation of a complex Patient Experience Toolkit (PET) intervention, developed and implemented through action research across six hospital wards/departments in the English NHS. Three dominant types of logic model were identified, each with certain strengths but ultimately unable to accurately capture the dynamics of PET. Hence, a fourth logic model type was developed to express how success hinges on the adaption of PET to its delivery settings. Aspects of the Promoting Action on Research Implementation in Health Services (PARIHS) model were incorporated into a traditional logic model structure to create a dynamic “type 4” logic model that can accommodate complex interventions taking on a different form in different settings.
Conclusion: Logic models can be used to model complex interventions that adapt to context but more flexible and dynamic models are required. An implication of this is that how logic models are used in healthcare research may have to change. Using logic models to forge consensus among stakeholders and/or provide precise guidance across different settings will be inappropriate in the case of complex interventions that adapt to context. Instead, logic models for complex interventions may be targeted at facilitators to enable them to prospectively assess the settings they will be working in and to develop context-sensitive facilitation strategies. Researchers should be clearas to why they are using a logic model and experiment with different models to ensure they have the correct type.
|Logic models, program theory, implementation models, Complexity, Complexity science, Complex interventions, Facilitation, Context
|BMC Medical Research Methodology
|Digital Object Identifier (DOI)
|Web address (URL)
|12 Mar 2019
|Publication process dates
|03 Mar 2019
|31 Aug 2022
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