At the UW Institute for Clinical and Translational Research, embedded evaluators use nested logic models to summarize complex layers of intent, assist with program improvement, encourage an evaluative perspective, communicate program achievements, and identify evaluation tasks and metrics. We think we have a handle on merit and worth, many processes and some outcomes, and formative and summative assessments. However, we continue to struggle with evaluating impacts within complex CTSA environments. CTSAs are interventions in research processes where fuzzy definitions and boundaries overlap with unpredictable emergent changes in program scope. We are not working in a simple environment of high certainty and high agreement about what to do, how to do it, and what impact to expect. Logic models, which work best in situations of static fixed cause and effect models, have become prevalent among CTSA evaluators. We address the utility of logic models within a developmental evaluation of CTSA implementation.
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