The Logical Framework: an easy escape, a straightjacket, or a useful planning tool?

The `logical framework' and `logical framework approach' have become widespread planning tools, particularly in donor-assisted projects in developing countries. With its simple format and the clear relationship between variables, the logical framework is helpful for summarising main concerns relating to development schemes. At the same time, the author argues, current conventions limit the framework's usefulness; and he suggests modifications that should substantially enhance its applicability and information-carrying capacity. The logical framework approach seeks to address additional dimensions of planning. However, it is too circumscribed by standardised steps and procedures to be defended as the ubiquitous planning methodology it is commonly held to be. The `logical framework approach' is here juxtaposed with a broader and more flexible concept of `development planning', with which it should not be confused.