Background and theory

Due by 11:59 PM on Thursday, February 1, 2024

For your final project, you will conduct an evaluation for a social program of your choosing. In this assignment, you will explore the program’s background, history, purpose, and theory.

If you decide to use a different program for your final project, that’s okay! This assignment doesn’t have to be related to your final program, but it would be helpful—a more polished version of this assignment can be included as part of your final project.


You need to complete the four sections listed below. Ideally you should type this in a Quarto document (.qmd) and render your document to HTML or Word or PDF, but you can also write in Word if you want (though your final project will need to be in Quarto, and this would give you practice).1

I’ve created a Quarto template you can use here: It’s also available on

You can draw your impact theory and logic model charts by hand or with something like, Lucidchart, or Creately. Export the image as a PNG, place it in the same directory as your Quarto file, and include the image with Markdown.

The syntax for adding an image in Markdown is fairly simple. Importantly, it is not R code, so don’t try putting it in an R chunk. Just type this:

![Image caption](/path/to/image.png)

Submit this assignment as a PDF or Word file on iCollege.

Assignment outline

1: Program background and purpose

(≈350 words)

Provide in-depth background about the program. Include details about (1) when it was started, (2) why it was started, (3) what it was designed to address in society. If the program hasn’t started yet, explain why it’s under consideration. Make sure you cite your sources appropriately! (In the past, some students have just copied/pasted text from a program’s website; don’t do that! Describe and analyze the program’s background!)

2: Program theory

(≈400 words)

Explain and explore the program’s underlying theory. Sometimes programs will explain why they exist in a mission statement, but often they don’t and you have to infer the theory from what the program looks like when implemented. What did the program designers plan on occurring? Was this theory based on existing research? If so, cite it.

Include a simple impact theory graph showing the program’s basic activities and outcomes. Recall from class and your reading that this is focused primarily on the theory and mechanisms, not on the implementation of the program.

3: Logic model

List every possible input, activity, output, and outcome for the program and provide a brief 1–2 sentence description of each.


  • Something
  • Something else


  • Something
  • Something else


  • Something
  • Something else


  • Something
  • Something else


Use flowchart software to connect the inputs, activities, outputs, and outcomes and create a complete logic model. Remember that inputs will always feed into activities, and that activities always produce outputs (that’s the whole purpose of an activity: convert an input to an output). Include this as a figure.

4: Analysis

(≈150 words)

Evaluate how well the logic model relates to the program theory. Do the inputs, activities, and outputs have a logical, well-grounded connection to the intended outcomes? Under ideal conditions, would the components of the program lead to changes or lasting effects?


  1. And if you want to be super brave, try using Quarto’s citation system!↩︎