Good afternoon. My name is Linnaya Graf and I am here to present preliminary findings based on a pilot study conducted as part of a larger doctoral project on the Application of Empirical Research to Prevention Practices by Family Violence Prevention Workers
There are 3 specific goals of this presentation. First, to describe a qualitative interview process for exploring factors that influence the application of empirical research to violence prevention practices. Second, is to discuss lessons learned from an initial pilot study which was conducted as part of the larger doctoral project. And Finally, to demonstrate that family violence prevention workers have a unique contribution to make to violence prevention research and that qualitative methodology is an important tool which can be used to empower front line workers to become more engaged in the research process.
Current research has confirmed that family violence remains a pervasive public health problem. In fact 3.5 million interpersonal violent crimes were reported between 1998 and 2002 with Almost 50% of violent crimes being committed against a spouse or intimate partner Another 10.5% committed against a child by a caregiver And the remaining 40% committed against another family member such as a sibling or grandparent
The spectrum of significant negative outcomes related to family violence for individuals include behavioral problems, developmental delays, emotional and social impairment, criminal behaviors, and clinical diagnoses. Further, there are direct and indirect economic costs to society. Based on the pervasiveness of family violence as a social problem, research by the Center for Disease Control has highlighted a need to increase the knowledge base regarding the application of research to prevention practices in order to improve violence prevention efforts. Family violence prevention workers are a population that can offer a unique perspective on the process of applying empirical research to front line prevention practices.
The World Health Organization and the Center for Disease Control have stated that family violence is predictable and preventable . The WHO and the CDC have reported that methods used to prevent family violence can be compared to the same methods which have been used to successfully reduce infectious diseases, automobile injuries, drinking and driving , and substance abuse. However, while methods are the same. Thus far, the prevention of family violence has not been as successful as these other areas of public health. One reason for the lack of success which has been suggested by recent researchers is that empirical findings related to violence research are not being applied to front line prevention practices uniformly and correctly.
It is currently unknown what situational and individual factors influence the application of empirical research to family violence prevention. Family violence prevention workers can provide a unique perspective into what factors negatively and positively impact this process. However, to date, no studies have explored this process from the perspective of the practitioner.
To address this research problem an exploratory, qualitative research study was developed with the purpose of identifying the factors that influence the application of research to practice from the perspective of family violence prevention workers.
Further, the purpose of the pilot study being presented today was to test an interview process and interview guide that was developed specifically for this study.
In developing a foundation for exploring this research topic , a conceptual framework was designed using a combination of force field analysis and the public health model. Force Field Analysis has two key tenants which are important to this study. First, that Social processes exist in an ever changing state, but seem fixed due to opposing factors which drive or hinder their process. And Second that Critical actors, which are those individuals with the power to adopt or reject the change, must be identified and included in any attempt to change the process.
The second model included in the conceptual framework of this study is the Public Health Model. The premise of this model is that population based prevention must be based on empirical evidence collected using the scientific method which is used to define and identify problems as well as to develop programs to address them.
Following the public health model this research includes a focus on primary, secondary, and tertiary prevention workers. This research is further modeled upon the participatory/advocacy paradigm in which the participant has an active voice in directing the research
Using the principals of this combined framework, the research methods for this study required a qualitative approach which actively engaged the population of interest. Thus, interviews are conducted using open ended questions in an effort to encourage participants to be active partners with the researcher in exploring the problem.
In designing the methods for this study it was determined that the nature of this study and the specific research questions being addressed were exploratory in nature, and founded on an advocacy paradigm. Thus, an an open-ended, guided interview was the most appropriate way to actively engage front line prevention workers in the steps of a force field analysis.
However, there was not a current validated measure available to conduct this study, and therefore a big part of this study was the development of an interview guide to assist with data collection. The instrument I have developed is based on an extensive literature review conducted as part of my dissertation proposal and approved by my academic institution. To improve validity of the developed interview process, the guide went through 4 levels of review. First, my committee members, chair, and the URR provided specific feedback to improve the instrument. Second, two experts in the field of violence prevention reviewed the instrument guide and provided feedback to improve the interview process. Next, the questions for the guide were reviewed by 4 front line workers who provided feedback on clarity. Then, Walden’s Internal Review Board approved the instrument and a pilot study was conducted. Four front line violence prevention practitioners were randomly selected from a pool of potential participants to engage in the interview process. These participants shared their experiences and provided their perceptions following the same phone interview protocol which is being used for the current data collection in the larger doctoral project.
Participants in the pilot study also provided feedback on the nature of the interview questions themselves, as well as the process which was used to collect the data. This information was recorded in narrative form and then reviewed manually to identify appropriate changes to the interview guide and process. Further, using the data collected during the interview an initial factor analysis was conducted using a coding and thematic analysis process to determine whether both positive and negative influences on the application of empirical research to prevention practices could be detected.
The main result of the pilot study was to improve the guide and process for conducting interviews for the main doctoral project. One substantial change that three of the participants suggested was to provide definitions and an example of the interview questions, in writing, prior to the phone interview. To avoid biasing the interview or creating leading answers, a cover sheet was created with a list of the operational definitions and 3 sample questions. Confusing questions and wording in both the main interview and demographics survey were also addressed.
While improving the interview process was one of the main goals, initial factor analysis was also conducted for the purpose of exploring and improving the coding process. Results of the initial factor analysis found both barriers and facilitators to applying empirical research. It is important to note that saturation was not reached with this small sample. However, the most important lesson from this initial data analysis was that these factors provide evidence that family violence prevention workers do indeed have information to share concerning factors that influence their use of empirical research in their professional work.
This study, as a whole, has social justice implications in providing family violence prevention workers with the opportunity to voice their needs, experiences, and unique perspective in applying empirical research to prevention practices. Furthermore, this research may contribute to improving future family violence prevention programs, and thereby addressing family violence as a public health problem.
The outcome of this pilot study suggests that family violence prevention workers can provide valuable contributions in understanding how empirical research can be successfully applied to violence prevention practices. The use of participatory action research principals may be the critical methodological ingredient in empowering practitioners to become more involved in violence prevention research.
Thank you for your attention and I’d be happy to answer any questions you might have.
Linnaya Graf, MSPH
October 5, 2010
Describe a qualitative interview process for
exploring factors that influence the application of
empirical research to prevention practices.
Discuss lessons learned from this initial pilot
Demonstrate that family violence prevention
workers have a unique contribution to make in
understanding the application of empirical
research to violence prevention practices.
Current research has confirmed that family
violence remains a pervasive public health
Current research by the Center for Disease Control
has highlighted a need to increase the knowledge
base regarding the application of research to
Family violence prevention workers are a
population that can offer a unique perspective on
the process of applying empirical research to front
line prevention practices.
According to the World Health
Organization (WHO) and the Center for
Disease Control (CDC), interpersonal
violence is predictable and preventable.
Methods to reduce family violence comparable to
those public health methods used to reduce
drinking and driving
The situational and individual factors that impact
the application of empirical research to front line
family violence prevention practices remains
Family violence prevention workers can provide a
unique perspective into the factors which impact
whether empirical research is being applied in
front-line violence prevention practices. However,
to date, no studies have explored this process from
the perspective of the family violence worker.
Identify the factors that positively and negatively
influence the application of empirical research to
professional practices of family violence
Test a newly developed interview guide
Conduct preliminary factor analysis
Force Field Analysis (Lewin)
Identify the critical actors engaged in implementing
the desired change and involve them in:
Identifying negative and positive factors that impact
Identify which factors are amenable to change
Develop a plan of action
Front line practitioners are the critical actors
involved in applying empirical research to front
line violence prevention.
Public Health Model
Inclusion of primary, secondary, and tertiary
Framework led to a qualitative research design
which actively involved front line violence
Qualitative Research Design
In-depth phone interviews
Recorded for transcription.
Open ended questions
Allow participants an opportunity to share experiences,
needs, and perceptions
Guided interview process
Ensure participants identify both barriers and
Reviewed by 4
IRB board at
Pilot Study with
4 front line
Narrative feedback from participants manually
reviewed for appropriate changes
Initial Data Analysis
Transcription and Coding
Factors Identified using Thematic Analysis
Primary changes based on participant feedback
Request for definitions in writing
Request for sample questions
Led to the development of an introduction to the
Additional changes in confusing wording and
rearrangement of some questions
Relevance (not relevant)
Lack of data
Lack of knowledge/training
Lack of confidence
Lack of organizational support
Consistency in reported data
Questioning validity of data
Interest to population
Organizational support: providing
Social Justice Implications
Empowerment of front line violence prevention
Improving future family violence prevention
Family violence prevention workers can provide
valuable contributions in understanding how
empirical research can be successfully applied to
violence prevention practices.