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This site was developed to offer a comprehensive resource to violence prevention professionals, partners in the work of violence prevention, and communities looking to create a healthier, safer environment for everyone. With this resource, prevention programs and strategies that have been shown to work in other communities can be considered, along with local community context, and what the experience of you and others in your community tells you about how that context is likely to impact action in your unique environment. This comprehensive way of thinking about selecting violence prevention strategies is called Evidence-Based Decision Making.
This site features engaging learning tailored to your unique violence prevention focus. An interactive Continuum of Evidence of Effectiveness will also offer you guided questions that will not only help with understanding the wide scope of what evidence really means, but also where strategies you may be considering fall within this complex landscape we call Evidence. You will also find a hub of constantly updated resources and materials in the Resource Center.
So take a moment. Scroll below or the left and see what you can discover about how Evidence Based Decision Making can help you create the change you want to see in your community.
Evidence is defined in many different ways. When we think about evidence based decision-making in particular, evidence is defined as information or facts that are systematically obtained (i.e., obtained in a manner that is replicable, observable, credible and verifiable) for use in making judgments or decisions (adapted from Rycroft-Malone et al, 2004 & Brownson et al., 2009). This definition of evidence applies to best available research evidence as well as contextual and experiential evidence.
Best available research evidence is information that enables researchers, practitioners and policy-makers to determine whether or not a prevention program, practice or policy is actually achieving its intended outcomes. Best available research evidence can also help to determine whether or not a prevention strategy is harmful. The more rigorous a study (e.g. true/quasi-experimental design, independent replication), the more compelling the research evidence is indicating whether or not a program, practice or policy is effectively preventing violence. The extent to which a prevention strategy has been replicated in multiple, applied settings with diverse populations (external/ecological validity), and the availability and accessibility of implementation supports (implementation guidance) are also important aspects of best available research evidence.
Registries of evidence-based programs are the best place to start when looking to find programs based on the best available research evidence. Technical assistance resource centers, which are typically tailored toward a particular area of violence prevention, also provide a variety of different resources for identifying prevention strategies based on the best available research evidence. In circumstances when there is very little research evidence on effective prevention strategies, technical assistance resource centers can also be very helpful. Technical assistance resource centers may aid in identifying known risk and protective factors and sound theories of change for your area of violence to guide your programmatic efforts as well as resources for evaluating them. A list of these registries and technical assistance resource centers can be found in the resource section.
Experiential evidence is the collective experience and expertise of those who have practiced or lived in a particular setting. It also includes the knowledge of subject matter experts. These insights, understandings, skills, and expertise are accumulated over time and are often referred to as intuitive or tacit knowledge. Experiential evidence is systematically gathered from multiple stakeholders who are familiar with a variety of key aspects about specific settings, and who have knowledge about the community in which a prevention strategy is to be implemented (i.e., knowledge about what has/has not worked previously in a specific setting with particular populations; insight into potential implementation challenges; insight regarding the needs and challenges of the community and those who live in it).
Experiential evidence is unique in that it must be intentionally and systematically elicited from a diverse array of key stakeholders in response to a particular decision-making situation. Some examples of data sources and methods for gathering experiential evidence include: reflective questions, communities of practice, expert panels, and team decision-making and other consensus processes.
Contextual evidence is a collection of measurable factors in the community that may impact the success of a prevention strategy (e.g., community history, organizational capacity, social norms, etc.). The role that contextual evidence plays in the evidence based decision-making process is to provide information to help determine whether a prevention strategy is likely to be acceptable, feasible, and useful in a local setting. Contextual evidence can be gathered from a variety of local data sources and offers a “snapshot” of measurable community characteristics that may impact a particular decision. Some examples of data sources and methods for collecting contextual evidence include: census data, local administrative data (hospital, school, and law enforcement), community needs/assets assessments, surveys, and focus groups/interviews.
Information on contextual factors that are relevant to your decision (contextual evidence) can be gathered from existing sources of data such as census data or administrative data (e.g. school records, hospital data, law enforcement data). New data on context can also be gathered through surveys, community assessments, focus groups, and interviews.
The goal of evidence based decision-making is to bring a high standard of research evidence into the decision-making process while taking into account the contextual and experiential factors that influence decisions for prevention.
Understanding Evidence is the first online tool of its kind. This free, online resource offers local practitioners and others working to prevent violence knowledge and resources for using evidence in their decision-making processes.
Understanding Evidence is meant to support critical thinking skills in practitioners to help them make evidence-informed decisions around violence prevention. Specifically, upon completion of Understanding Evidence the learner will be able to: 1. define the three types of evidence involved in evidence based decision-making; 2. identify standards of rigor across the key dimensions that make up the best available research evidence; 3. identify sources of and ways to collect best available research evidence, contextual evidence, and experiential evidence; and 4. identify key stages and characteristics of an evidence based decision-making process.
Understanding Evidence is designed primarily for violence prevention practitioners, but anyone working to prevent violence in their communities will find the information useful including CDC grantees, researchers, program evaluators, technical assistance providers, and decision-makers.
To obtain continuing education credits for Understanding Evidence, you must complete all the lesson modules. However, you can review the content in any order you wish. A progress bar at the top of the screen will keep track of the modules you have reviewed on an ongoing basis so that you can monitor your overall progress. After you finish all four modules, you will be linked directly to CDC’s Training and Continuing Education online system. Here you will register to receive a certificate of completion for continuing education credits. There is no cost to you for receiving continuing education credits for Understanding Evidence.
The extent to which the stakeholders find the strategy satisfactory or agreeable (http://www.ojp.usdoj.gov/BJA/evaluation/glossary/) .
Archival data is information that has already been collected and/or documented. It can include records that are kept by governmental and other agencies, as well as records normally kept as part of the operation of an institution or organization. (http://www.sdrg.org/ctcresource/Community%20Assessment%20Training/Trainer%20Guide/CAT_TG_mod3.pdf)
Best available research evidence enables researchers, practitioners, and policy-makers to determine whether or not a prevention program, practice, or policy is actually achieving the outcomes it aims to and in the way it intends. The more rigorous a study’s research design, the more compelling the research evidence, indicating whether or not a program, practice, or policy is effectively preventing violence (Puddy & Wilkins, 2011).
Process to identify those particular areas of capacity that are strongest and those that need improvement (http://www.vppartners.org/sites/default/files/reports/assessment.pdf ).
This concept is inclusive of the many ways that people with knowledge and experiences around a specific issue gather to share and collect their insight with a common goal in mind. It could range from something as informal as a listserv to a highly structured working group.
The production of a common understanding among participants about issues and programs (http://www.ojp.usdoj.gov/BJA/evaluation/glossary/ )
Contextual Evidence refers to information about whether or not a strategy “fits” with the context in which it is to be implemented. In other words, contextual evidence provides prevention practitioners with information on whether a strategy is feasible to implement, is useful, and is likely to be accepted by a particular community (CHSRF, 2005; SAMHSA, 2007; Victoria et al., 2004).
The source of the information contributes to how worthy it is of belief when compared to external (who and where it comes from) and internal (independent knowledge of the subject) criteria.
A systematic approach to determining the best use of scarce resources. The process typically involves measuring in monetary terms the private and social costs and benefits of a particular strategy to the community or economy. (http://www.businessdictionary.com/definition/economic-analysis.html ).
Experiential Evidence is the collective experience and expertise of those who have practiced or lived in a particular setting. It also includes the knowledge of subject matter experts. This insight, understanding, skill, and expertise is accumulated over time and is often referred to as intuitive or tacit knowledge (Orleans et al, 1999).
Multiple subject matter experts brought together to share experiences on what has “worked” for them in putting their knowledge into practice.
The applicability or practicability of a proposed action or plan (http://www.ojp.usdoj.gov/BJA/evaluation/glossary/ ).
Fidelity is the degree to which a program, practice, or policy is conducted in the way that it was intended to be conducted. This is particularly important during replication, where fidelity is the extent to which a program, practice, or policy being conducted in a new setting mirrors the way it was conducted in its original setting.
Influence mapping is a process that involves identifying the individuals and groups with the power to effect a key decision, including the position and motives of each person and the best channels through which to communicate with them. The approach is also known as Stakeholder Influence Mapping, Power Mapping or the Arena of Influence (http://www.odi.org.uk/resources/details.asp?id=5697&title=influence-mapping-stakeholder-analysis ).
Conducting a needs assessment involves a systematic process for determining and addressing needs, or "gaps" between current conditions and desired conditions or "wants" (http://www.adprima.com/needs.htm Kizlik, B., "Needs Assessment Information", ADPRIMA, accessed 16 October 2010).
Able to be perceived by those not directly involved in the process (http://www.ojp.usdoj.gov/BJA/evaluation/glossary/ ).
An individual who is not a member of a profession but works under the supervision of a teacher or another professional staff member who has the ultimate responsibility for the design, implementation, and evaluation of education programs and related services. (National Resource Center for Paraprofessionals)
PNM is a process to identify policy networks and map network structures, using qualitative and quantitative methods to reveal linkages between actors (http://jtp.sagepub.com/content/10/4/389.short ).
Political climate refers to the overall opinion of a population on political issues. For example, on sensitive issues (e.g. sex education in schools), a community/population served may tend to share similar perspectives or opinions.
Experiments based on sound theory, and typically have comparison groups (but no random assignment of participants to condition), and/or multiple measurement points (e.g., pre-post measures, longitudinal design).
A trial in which participants are assigned to control or experimental (receive strategy) groups at random, meaning that all members of the sample must have an equal chance of being selected for either the control or experimental groups (i.e.. Flipping a coin, where “heads” means participants are assigned to the control group and “tails” means they are assigned to the experimental group). This way, it can be assumed that the two groups are equivalent and there are no systematic differences between them, which increases the likelihood that any differences in outcomes are due to the program, practice, or policy and not some other variable(s) that the groups differ on.
Questions that elicit memories, experiences, feelings, and reactions. (ICA, 2000)
The methods used to gather the information would yield the same results if used again.
Extremely thorough adherence to strict rules or discipline to ensure as accurate results as possible.
Pre-existing sources of data that were not collected by the user. Examples could be data collected for similar studies to use for comparison, and large datasets.
Stakeholder analysis is a process of systematically gathering and analyzing qualitative information to determine whose interests that should be taken into account when developing and/or implementing a policy or program (http://www.eestum.eu/voorbeelden/Stakeholders_analysis_guidelines.pdf ).
The assembly, critical appraisal, and synthesis of all relevant studies of a specific program, practice, or policy in order to assess its overall effectiveness, feasibility, and “best practices” in its implementation.
Data collected by methods that are thorough, methodical, and analytical rather than in an arbitrary, unplanned, or haphazard way.
Activities with the purpose of getting to the collective knowledge of the group for the purposes of making a decision.
The state or quality of being useful to stakeholders.
The extent to which something can be tested for accuracy.
This program provides a free continuing education opportunity by:International Association for Continuing Education and Training (IACET)
This program was funded and supported by:The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
CDC, our planners, our content experts, and our presenters wish to disclose they have no financial interests or other relationships with the manufacturers of commercial products, suppliers of commercial services, or commercial supporters.
Presentations will not include any discussion of the unlabeled use of a product or a product under investigational use.
CDC does not accept commercial support.
Understanding Evidence will help you use evidence-based decision making as you work to prevent violence.
Take the training to learn more about the different types of evidence, explore resources to help you gather your evidence, or use the Continuum to discover the evidence behind an existing program, practice, or policy.
Explore three different types of evidence (research, contextual, and experiential) while earning continuing education credits.
Discover ways to find the best available research evidence and ways of collecting contextual and experiential evidence.
Gauge the research strength behind a program, practice, or policy you are considering for your community.