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Use of Research Evidence within Domestic Violence-Serving Organizations

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Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2014, $78,602)

Millions of dollars are spent every year on research that has implications for criminal justice policy and practice. Unfortunately, little of this research focuses directly on the question of how research is used by policymakers and practitioners. While communities of practice have been studied in single sectors (notably education and medicine), of particular importance in the development of scholarship on research use is understanding how communities of practice that cross service sectors utilize research. One such cross-sector community of practice is the set of agencies and organizations that serve victims and perpetrators of domestic violence (DV). The purpose of this study is to investigate how research is defined, acquired, interpreted and used to change policy and practice within criminal justice and community organizations serving domestic violence victims and perpetrators. Our goal is to undertake Phase 1 of a longer-term two-part mixed method study of research use among organizational leaders and mid-level program managers that will identify characteristics of research and users; social network connections; organizational structure, capacity and culture; and cross-sector collaboration issues that affect the use of research in diverse, sometimes conflictual, organizations serving persons affected by DV. Through key informant interviews, document reviews and focus groups with leaders in three primary systems involved in DV work (advocacy, police and courts), we will advance understanding of the use of research evidence within and across these systems. Understanding the factors that contribute to research use will help inform policies on research dissemination, contribute to the development of training in processes to increase the use of research evidence (including helping researchers to increase the responsiveness and accessibility of their research to DV organizations), and increase understanding of how leaders across the DV serving community can better collaborate to use research evidence in their work. More generally, findings from this study will hold implications for understanding the use of research in cross-sector communities of practice that intersect with the criminal justice system such as services to address mental health and chemical dependency concerns.ca/ncf
Date Created: September 17, 2014