This brief – the sixth of seven toolkit resources that support the Urban Institute’s formative evaluation of the VictimConnect Resource Center – summarizes activities of the National Center for Victims of Crime (NCVC), with assistance from the Urban Institute, in developing research capacity for a comprehensive implementation evaluation and outcome evaluation of VictimConnect.
The research capacity-building described in this brief encompasses all the activities that support a program’s or service’s ability to conduct research and evaluation. When a program is being developed, it is important to include a plan for how the program’s operation and effects will be evaluated at some point. In the development of the VictimConnect program, the Urban Institute research team collaborated with research liaisons at NCVC to identify, support, and guide activities that would prepare VictimConnect for a future comprehensive implementation evaluation and a rigorous outcome evaluation. Since NCVC developed VictimConnect in 2015, program staff have included in their planning the installation of mechanisms that enable VictimConnect supervisors to routinely measure the program’s impact in the victim services field; the characteristics of clients being served; the resources most often requested; and how well the technological platform underlying VictimConnect addressed visitor requests through the use of secure phone conversation, online chat, text messaging, and web-based searches. This brief identifies and discusses the five research capacity-building activities intended to strengthen the VictimConnect operational model. Other issues discussed in relation to VictimConnect’s planning for evaluation include steps in refining and expanding data collection, as well as focusing on the sustainability of the evaluation. 11 references