Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2014, $46,859)
Moving scientific, scholarly research from research settings to real world work environments is challenging. Yet, presently it is common to use evidence to inform and reform policy and practice change. As organizations embark this path, our knowledge of implementation processes grows. However, scholars still have a long way to go before fully understanding how managers and staff acquire knowledge about EBPs, how much they understand them and how they are used. Within correctional settings, research on evidence-based policy/practice implementation primarily examines implementation preparation and planning (Birgden, 2004; Latessa, 2004), systemic processes (Simpson & Dansereau, 2007) or evaluations of post-implementation outcome measures (Bouffard, Taxman, and Silverman, 2003; Henning & Frueh, 1996). In this work, the terms implementation, dissemination, translation and sustainability are not well defined and little is known about the processes organizations and their staff undergo pre-, during and post-evidence-based change.
The proposed research grows out of three existing studies that examine how organizational actors understand, negotiate and implement reforms including EBPs in community corrections agencies. These collaborative projects include studies with adult and juvenile probation/parole within federal, state and local systems. The existing case studies contain over 1000 hours of qualitative data collected via observations of and interviews with 114community corrections senior and middle managers and street-level staff in adult and juvenile probation/parole and problem solving courts. To date, studies from these projects yielded eight peer-reviewed publications, two book chapters, one training manual, a computer software package for tracking incentives and rewards, numerous public presentations and four additional peer-reviewed publications are under review. The proposed research will extend the existing studies by combining three project data sets and re-analyzing that data to focus explicitly on definitions, sources, understandings and uses of scientific and scholarly research for practice and policy decisions. It will also expand the existing data by adding in-depth, follow up interviews with previously interviewed/observed community corrections workers to elicit detailed narratives specifically about how community corrections managers and staff: 1) define EBPs; 2) seek/gather information regarding EBPs, 3) understand EBPs and their role in their agency, and 4) adapt/adopt EBPs to fit within existing agency policies and practices. Ultimately, this research will enhance existing knowledge about the implementation, dissemination, translation and sustainability of reforms within community supervision settings. Dissemination of this studys findings will include publication in scholarly journals, presentations at academic- and practitioner-oriented conferences and a book manuscript. ca/ncf