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IdAND~OOI< OF- EVALUATION METHODS

Logical Framework Approach

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Areas of Application �9 Situation analysis either in general and at any time within a

project �9 Support the choice o f action prior to planning of the

development effort �9 Incorporating risk handling within project planning

Description Logical Framework Approach (LFA) is an objectives-oriented_plan- ning methodology. The authors call it a framework, but it serves as a methodology because it describes the overall sequence of activities for the whole process, from the start o f the project to the end, and the relationships between activities and guidelines of a methodical nature.

The methodology is designed to be used for reform projects in developing countries. This in itself gives it the advantage of being intended as an incredibly simple but effective planning and implementation tool.

The methodology consists o f two parts (Handbook for objectives- oriented planning 1992): (1) a situation analysis to identify stakeholder groups and problems and weaknesses in the existing system and (2) project design. The first part can stand alone, while the latter presupposes the first.

The philosophy of the methodology is to focus on one central problem during a change management process. The core of the process lies in producing a ‘Problem Tree’ where the leaves are directly converted into a ‘Tree of Objectives’ through a description of objectives. This is then transformed and becomes a change management tool, such as traditional activity descriptions for a project.

A. Situation Analysis 1. Stakeholder analysis: Identification of groups and subgroups in

order to identify participants for the future development project.

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Brender, McNair, Jytte, and Jytte Brender. Handbook of Evaluation Methods for Health Informatics, Elsevier Science & Technology, 2006. ProQuest Ebook Central, http://ebookcentral.proquest.com/lib/waldenu/detail.action?docID=306691. Created from waldenu on 2022-03-06 01:57:27.

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IdANDBOOI< OF: EVALUATION METHODS

2. Problem analysis: By means of a brainstorming technique to capture elements and symptoms in the organization, which are subsequently synthesized into a ‘Problem Tree’ with the trunk being the central problem and the leaves the smallest symptoms. An analysis of the causality is used as the roots of the tree in such a way that all the branches and leaves are covered and thereby accounted for.

3. Objectives Analysis: The Problem Tree is converted into a tree of corresponding solutions, the ‘Objectives Tree’.

4. Analysis of the alternatives with regard to choosing the best solution for the future and the establishment of a strategy.

B. Solution Design 5. Project Elements: Define the objectives for the development

(justification of the project), the resulting immediate subobjectives (which together define and limit the intended effect), and then break them down into results, activities, and resources.

6. External Factors: Identification (for each and every activity) of important risk factors.

7. Indicators: Definition of the measures for monitoring the progress of each activity.

The above approach is primarily suited for simple projects. Crawford and Bryce (2003) review other and more complex versions of the LFA and summarize the key limitations of this method, which are concerned with handling the preconditions and assumptions for the implementation work (Phase B). However, in an evaluation context it is the approach of the Situation Analysis that is of primary interest.

Assumptions for Application There is no real precondition with regard to the educational level of the participants, precisely because its intended use is in developing countries. A very simple version of the methodology can be used. However, depending on the accuracy and precision required, it may be necessary for the leader(s) of the process to have adequate experience of group dynamics and relevant methods to supplement specific information needs. It can not replace traditional system development methods but may be applied to identify areas that need focused efforts and as such it may serve as a means for constructive assessment.

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Brender, McNair, Jytte, and Jytte Brender. Handbook of Evaluation Methods for Health Informatics, Elsevier Science & Technology, 2006. ProQuest Ebook Central, http://ebookcentral.proquest.com/lib/waldenu/detail.action?docID=306691. Created from waldenu on 2022-03-06 01:57:27.

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IdANDBOOt< OF:: EVALUATION METHODS

The methodology assumes quite a stable project plan, as it does not have any inbuilt mechanisms, such as feed-back loops, for handling modifications. However, this does not preclude changes to a project plan but requires that all elements o f the plan and its methods are explicitly dealt with or taken into consideration during a possible modification.

It is clearly a prerequisite that the supporting methods and techniques are properly identified and adapted to detailed subactivities in such a way that they harmonize with the entirety and with each other. Depending on the size o f project concerned with the situation analysis o n l y – a need for supporting methods or techniques, for instance – may arise, as may a need for supporting the causal analysis. Examples o f useful methods in this respect are Stakeholder Analysis and Focus Group Interviews, for example.

Perspectives In itself the methodology is neutral to political, organizational and cultural conditions or constraints, it neither dictates nor prohibits such constraints, and it can work under their conditions. In the description there are aspects that make it more suitable in certain cultures and types o f organizations than in others (as, for instance, in the suggestion for choice o f project participants where the chosen procedures, principles, and criteria are clearly culture dependent). However, there is nothing to stop the use o f one’s own principles.

The methodology is reasonably neutral toward the methods employed and contains a number o f steps for the process. As a rule it is necessary to add concrete and formalized methods or instructions (at least for large projects). As such it does not replace the stakeholder analysis method, cost-benefit analysis, impact assessments, and so on, but it has openings and rudimentary instructions where activities are prescribed and other methods therefore may supplement.

The perspective o f the Problem Tree is that o f focusing on just one single problem as a starting point for development. In the case o f large development projects, this can often be too simplified a point o f view. However, this can be resolved through a simple modification o f the problem analysis. For example: ‘All o f the problem areas o f the organization’ may be defined as the trunk o f the Problem Tree, instead o f picking just one o f the largest branches as the trunk and then disregarding the rest (Brender 1997). This will o f course make the investigation into the causality more extensive or

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Brender, McNair, Jytte, and Jytte Brender. Handbook of Evaluation Methods for Health Informatics, Elsevier Science & Technology, 2006. ProQuest Ebook Central, http://ebookcentral.proquest.com/lib/waldenu/detail.action?docID=306691. Created from waldenu on 2022-03-06 01:57:27.

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NANDE~OOt< OF {_?-VALUATION METHODS

difficult, but it will also make it far more rewarding.

Frame of Reference for Interpretation Preparation o f the Problem Tree (in the Situation Analysis) is relevant as an evaluation tool in connection with an assessment o f IT-based systems. But the Problem Tree does not have its own frame o f reference against which to compare the outcome. The validity o f the synthesized Problem Tree might be discussed with the user organization whose opinions and attitudes become a frame o f reference o f sorts.

Perils and Pitfalls When eliciting the Problem Tree, one must be aware o f the following sources o f error (see Part III):

1. Postrationalization (may partly be redressed by brainstorming techniques through the interaction and inspiration between the stakeholders)

2. Other error sources in connection with group dynamics, as for example under F o c u s Group I n t e r v i e w

Advice and Comments The methodology’s principle o f risk monitoring is recommended in its own right, in terms o f monitoring the external factors that are incorporated in the implementation plan as explicit variables. It may be advantageous to incorporate them into other methods and strategies for ongoing monitoring (evaluation) o f development trends and risk factors.

The Affinity method may be used as an aid to brainstorming and modeling o f the Problem Tree or alternatively one o f the other similar methods outlined on http://jthom.best.vwh.net/usability/.

References

Handbook for objectives-oriented planning. 2nd ed. Oslo: Norwegian Agency for Development Cooperation; 1992.

I f this is not available, there is a r~sum~ o f it in the next reference. Alternatively, the reader is referred to the review in (Crawford and Bryce 2003).

Brender J. Methodology assessment of medical IT-based systems – in an organisational context. Amsterdam: lOS Press, Stud Health Technol Inform 1997;42.

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Brender, McNair, Jytte, and Jytte Brender. Handbook of Evaluation Methods for Health Informatics, Elsevier Science & Technology, 2006. ProQuest Ebook Central, http://ebookcentral.proquest.com/lib/waldenu/detail.action?docID=306691. Created from waldenu on 2022-03-06 01:57:27.

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