A Litmus Test for Evaluating the Use of a Theory
(Nigg & Paxton, 2008)

This “litmus test,” presented below helps to evaluate interventions, and is a useful guide for planning a program or intervention. The more affirmatively this set of questions is answered, the more likely it is that the theory has been used to best effect. Being aware of these items when planning programs or interventions will ensure a more thorough approach, decrease the likelihood of missing important components, and provide a more informative evaluation.

1) Is a theory identified?
2) Is the (entire) theory described?
3) Are all of the theory components translated into the intervention?
4) Are all of the intervention components implemented?
5) Are all of the theory components assessed?
6) Are the theory variables and the outcome congruent?
7) Did the mediators change during the intervention?
8) Did the outcome change?

Scoring – sum the number of Yes’s. Greater affirmation reflects more appropriate use of theory.

Nigg, C. R., & Paxton, R. (2008). Conceptual perspectives used to understand youth physical activity and inactivity, (pp.79-113). In Smith, A. L.  & Biddle, S. J. H. (Eds.), Youth Physical Activity and Inactivity: Challenges and Solutions. Champaign, IL: Human Kinetics.