Adaptation: Find the Policies, Practices, and Programs that Fit


Find the Policies, Practices, and Programs that Fit

  • Yellow Hexagon
  • Hexagon icon titled 'Identify the Essential Elements'
  • Hexagon icon titled 'Adapt the Approach'
  • Hexagon icon titled 'Track and Evaluate'

Policies, practices, and programs are sometimes evaluated within a particular context that may be different from your community. State and local agencies may decide to make adaptations to policies, practices, and programs to fit their local context. This requires identifying and maintaining what is essential as you make necessary changes.

The content of this page is from Using Essential Elements to Select, Adapt and Evaluate Violence Prevention Approaches.

Adaptations are changes, such as additions, deletions, modifications, or reordering made before or during implementation to an existing policy, practice, or program. Common reasons for adaptation:

  • Increasing relevancy and understanding among participants
  • Increasing participation
  • Creating or maintaining relationships
  • Responding to limited time and resources.

Graphic for Three Steps for Adapting

Book Icon for Resources For and interactive guide, visit Select, Adapt, Evaluate!

Learn more with Select, Adapt, Evaluate!

Estimate the Essential Elements of the Approach

Essential elements are the active ingredients assumed responsible for achieving intended outcomes. They are the WHAT, HOW, and WHO of policies, practices, and programs:

  • WHAT should be delivered, such as key messages, design elements, and policy components
  • HOW actions should be implemented, such as teaching methods
  • WHO should implement, lead, or enforce actions

Pen Icon for Stories See how North Carolina retained the essential elements of their violence prevention approach by building communication capacity.

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Adapt the Approach to Increase Fit while Keeping the Essential Elements

Adaptations should increase fit for the community while keeping the approach’s essential elements. Prior to implementation, you may consider adaptations to a policy, practice, or program. If the changes you make increase the fit but compromise, for example, key messages or implementation methods of an approach, you should not make the adaptations.

Pen Icon for Stories See how Houston, TX, adapted their approach to violence prevention.

Go to Stories

Note Icon for Worksheets Download the following worksheets for Programs and Community and Societal Approaches:

Worksheet 4. Planning Green Light Adaptations Worksheet 5. Making Green Light Adaptations and Avoiding Red Light Adaptations

Track and Evaluate Adaptations

Document adaptations and measure whether they support essential elements and impact approach outcomes. Tracking and evaluating adaptations is important because findings can be used to improve approach delivery or explain approach outcomes. This is similar to process and outcome evaluation of violence prevention strategies and approaches. For this, go to Evaluation.

In some areas, little is known about effective policies, practices, or programs. In these communities, it may be best to innovate rather than adapt.

Note Icon for Worksheets Download the following worksheet to help track and evaluate adaptations:

Worksheet 6. Tracking and Evaluating Adaptations