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Article

Agency-Based Research  

Irwin Epstein and Stephen A. Kapp

This entry reviews agency-based research and the unique demands created by the organizational context where this activity resides. Three primary stakeholder groups are identified: administrators and program managers, supervisors, and direct service workers and clinicians. Possible uses of agency-based research by each of the respective stakeholder groups are described. Finally, the role of service consumers in agency-based research is discussed.

Article

Dissemination and Implementation Research  

Enola Proctor

Implementation research seeks to inform how to deliver evidence-based interventions, programs, and policies in real-world settings so their benefits can be realized and sustained. The ultimate aim of implementation research is building a base of evidence about the most effective processes and strategies for improving service delivery. Implementation research builds upon effectiveness research and then seeks to discover how to use specific implementation strategies and move those interventions into specific settings, extending their availability, reach, and benefits to clients and communities. This entry provides an overview of implementation research as a component of research translation and defines key terms, including implementation outcomes and implementation strategies, as well as an overview of guiding theories and models and methodological issues including variable measurement, research design, and stakeholder engagement.

Article

Evidence-Based Macro Practice  

Erick G. Guerrero, Tenie Khachikian, and Murali Nair

Evidence-based macro practices (EBMPs) rely on the best available evidence to promote system change. The field of social work needs to develop, implement, and disseminate EBMPs to respond to increasing public accountability to deliver cost-effective interventions that promote health and well-being among vulnerable populations. There are several evidence-based macro practices at the community and organizational levels that have potential to improve the effectiveness of social work practice. These EBMPs, their components, and the critical role they play in improving interventions and enacting change at a macro level are important. Building science in social work, informing practice in the 21st century, and effectively responding to system-wide challenges (e.g., epidemics, institutional racism, growing inequality) that disproportionally impact the health and well-being of the most vulnerable members of our society are important areas to explore.

Article

Logic Models  

Craig Winston LeCroy

Logic models have become a critical feature of program planning and evaluation. Using a logic model framework provides a visual summary that shows the relationship between the program’s resources, activities, outputs, and outcomes. The logic model is a tool that helps individuals see the interrelationships between the different components of a program. By using logic models, program planners and evaluators can more effectively examine a program’s theory and logic. The logic model tool highlights the program’s underlying theory, the service activities, and the organizational structure for accomplishing program outcomes. The process of developing a logic model assists developers and evaluators and other stakeholders in understanding a program’s assumptions and evaluating the logical links between what programs are doing and the outcomes they hope to achieve. Because of their utility logic, models have become widely used in social service programs.

Article

Outcome Measures in Human Services  

Bruce Friedman and Rosario Olivera

The field of social work transformed over time from providing relief to less fortunate individuals to a sophisticated profession that looks at evidence-based measures to deliver change. This has been possible by looking at accountability aspects to demonstrate improvement by addressing performance outcomes resulting from interventions. Outcomes operate on all levels from micro to mezzo to macro, and the skills needed include identifying who is being served and the specific goals to be achieved. This article introduces the use of a logic model as a way to explain interventions and outcomes on a short-term, intermediate term, and long-term basis. The section also describes current measures being used to demonstrate how outcomes are used to justify the practice.

Article

Program Implementation  

Rosalyn M. Bertram

For more than two decades, academic professional degree programs, as well as behavioral health, education, public health and social services have grappled with how to integrate the emerging science of implementation and evidence-based programs, policies or practices into their organizations and systems. During these initial decades of the 21st century, peer-reviewed journals such as Implementation Science, Implementation Research and Practice, and Global Implementation Research and Applications were established. Concurrently, special issues or sections of other journals are also adding to our knowledge of policy and program implementation as was as of academic program preparation and organizational development of a workforce versed in the implementation of effective, sustainable programs or practices. A recent study of this explosion of peer-reviewed outlets was published in Frontiers in Public Health. Organizations such as the Society of Implementation Research Collaboration and the Global Implementation Society offer international conferences as venues for interdisciplinary exploration and development of the science and practice of sound, sustainable implementation of effective policies, programs, or practices. Registries of evidence-based or supported programs are provided by Blueprints for Health Youth Development, the California Evidence Based Clearinghouse for Child Welfare, The National Child Traumatic Stress Network, the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention, the Title IV-E Prevention Services Clearinghouse, and others. Guidance on program or practice selection implementation can be found through websites maintained by the Active Implementation Research Network, the Child and Family Evidence-Based Practice Consortium, the Franklin Porter Graham Child Development Institute’s National Implementation Research Network, the University of Maryland School of Social Work’s Institute for Innovation and Implementation and many other organizations.

Article

Supervision  

Lawrence Shulman

The article addresses the four major content areas of supervision, including direct practice, professional impact, job management, and continued learning. It also examines supervision models and current challenges including the adoption of evidenced-based practices, a movement away from process supervision, supervision of social workers by other professionals, advances in technology, inter and intra-cultural issues, and changes in the NASW Code of Ethics.

Article

Technology in Macro Social Work Practice  

John G. McNutt and Lauri Goldkind

Information and communication technology has become a major force in society, the social welfare system, and the social work profession. This entry examines the growth of technology and its application to social work and society. It looks at the role of technology and places an emphasis on administrative/organizational, community, and policy practice. It also considers the larger context of the global information society. It additionally explores the impact of technology on the profession and professional education.