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Article

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

Paula S. Nurius and Susan Kemp

This entry provides an overview of the nature of transdisciplinary and translational priorities in the context of changing forms of research and assessments of the relationship of research to societal impact. It first describes shifts away from single disciplinary to more integrative disciplinary approaches to science and discusses emerging forms of integrative research, distinguishing and illustrating multidisciplinary, interdisciplinary, and transdisciplinary approaches. It then turns to describing the social forces behind the acceleration of science into service, illustrating what are referred to as translational gaps and efforts to bridge them. Within social work, methods attentive to adaptation for diverse settings, organizational dissemination and implementation, and community partnership models have become prominent. The entry concludes with attention to the development of an educational pipeline that prepares professionals as well as researchers for capable, confident participation into this environment of transdisciplinary and translational approaches.

Article

Enola Proctor and Alicia Bunger

Implementation science 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 aim of implementation science 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 to move interventions into specific settings, extending their availability, reach, and benefits to clients and communities. This article provides an overview of implementation science as a component of research translation with an emphasis on traditional social work practice settings. The article begins by defining key terms, including implementation and evidence-based interventions. To inform conceptualization of implementation studies, the article continues with an overview of guiding implementation theories, models, and frameworks that explain the role of the multi-level practice context for implementation. Next, the article defines implementation strategies, identifies sources of implementation strategies, and provides recommendations for specifying and describing strategies that allow for replication. The article then describes methodological issues, including variable measurement, research design, and stakeholder engagement. Given the importance of designing implementation studies that optimize both internal and external validity, there is special attention to creative alternatives to traditional randomized controlled trials, and the potential for participatory and systems approaches. Finally, the article concludes with a discussion of future directions for implementation science in social work.

Article

Phyllis Solomon

This entry defines Randomized Control Trials (RCTs) and puts them in an historical context. It provides an understanding of the distinction between efficacy and effectiveness RCTs and explains why effectiveness trials are more relevant to social work interventions. The strengths and limitations of RCTs that use experimental designs are delineated. It discusses the reporting requirements of RCTs by the standards of the CONSORT (Consolidated Standards of Reporting Trials).. It also presents the controversies of social workers in the use of RCTs.. Current health services research emphasizes evidence-based practices, research on comparative effectiveness, and using dissemination and implementation research to understand the gaps between empirically supported interventions and the services that are offered in routine care. RCTs have emerged as a central methodology in all of these efforts. Social workers, therefore, need to be knowledgeable and engage in these efforts.

Article

Thomas Packard

This article presents an overview of the field of organizational change as it applies to human service organizations (HSOs). It offers definitions, conceptual models, and perspectives for looking at organizational change and notes common reasons that organizational change efforts fail. The article takes the perspective of an agency executive or manager who has the responsibility for initiating and implementing a planned organizational change initiative. It offers a comprehensive, evidence-based model for tactics to use and steps to take, from assessing change readiness and change capacity to institutionalizing and evaluating change outcomes within the organization. Common change methods, including those particularly relevant to HSOs, such as implementation science, the use of consultants, and change efforts which can be initiated by lower-level employees, are reviewed A research agenda, with particular attention to change tactics, is offered.