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Logical Framework (LF)

Central to the Project Design process is the Logical Framework (LogFrame), which is developed from the CDCS Results Framework. The Logical Frame validates and potentially updates the Result Framework and includes detail on the inputs and outputs necessary to achieve the intended results or project's purpose as well as project assumptions. The Logical Frame provides a way to define, design, and budget for the USAID interventions necessary to achieve the CDCS Goal and DOs.

The Logical Framework is as much a way of thinking about development projects as it is a one page tool for summarizing the key elements of a project design and establishing a basis for project monitoring and evaluation. Users already familiar with this tool may wish to jump directly to the kit's Logical Framework Template which can be used to prepare a project Logical Framework online and save, download or print it. Those less familiar with this tool will find introductory information on this page as well as highlighted terms that lead to more detailed explanations on how to prepare each of the columns of a Logical Framework matrix. A sample of a completed Logical Framework for a Trade Facilitation Project is also provided in this section.

Central to the way in which the Logical Framework approach focuses thinking about development projects is its emphasis on the hypotheses embedded in project designs. These hypotheses are expressed as a vertical chain or hierarchy, in the Narrative Summary column of the matrix shown below. As the arrows at the top of the matrix shown below indicate, Assumptions in the far right column of a Logical Framework matrix are an integral part of the design aspect of this tool. To understand a project's design propositions, readers are encouraged to read these two columns together, i.e., Outputs plus Assumptions, at the Output level, taken together will yield the project Purpose. Additional pages in this kit provide more detailed information on the preparation of a Narrative Summary and Assumptions columns in the matrix.

Diagram: Core Elements of a Project's Design

The vertical aspect of a Logical Framework is its scientific side. It reminds us that the development process is not fully understood, and in most environments factors beyond a USAID project's control introduce uncertainties into any design and implementation process. The scientific side encourages us to frame a vertical chain of results as hypotheses, which can be tested and from which we can learn and advance our understanding of “what works” to bring about progress in developing countries. Evaluations, particularly impact evaluations, focus on the vertical or scientific aspect of a Logical Framework.

The horizontal aspect of a Logical Framework, particularly the first three columns capture the managerial and accountability side of a Logical Framework. The second column, Indicators, refines our understanding of results in the first column by telling us how we will know whether those results have been achieved. In a Logical Framework, targets as well as indicators are included in this column. The third column, Data Sources, identifies data sources, methods and the frequency with which performance information will be obtained to help project managers guide implementation. Performance monitoring in a Logical Framework is part of the horizontal aspect of the tool, as are many of the questions USAID asks in mid-project performance evaluations. Additional pages in this kit provide more detailed information on the preparation of the Indicators and Data Sources columns in the matrix. Both performance and impact evaluations draw on the two middle columns for guidance on measuring the changes that projects are intended to bring about.