Alternatively, community-based social workers often develop innovative practices that withstand such challenges, but the literature about treatment manual development is rarely used by social workers in community-based settings (Chorpita, 2002). Thus, practitioners may lack the skills and expertise to manualize their interventions for the purposes of scientific research.
To help bridge this research-to-practice gap, our collaborative team, which includes researchers, practitioners and a grantmaker, has been manualizing an innovative program that was developed by social workers in a community-based setting. The aim of the program is to help domestic violence survivors and their children with safety and recovery. Importantly, this is an area of social work practice in which few evidence-based interventions exist (Wathen & MacMillian, 2003).
In preparation for a rigorous research evaluation of this innovative program, our research group collaborated with two community-based human service agencies (a child abuse prevention agency and a domestic violence agency both located in an urban area in the southeastern U.S.) and a grantmaker to: (1) pilot the innovative program that was developed by the two human-service agencies; (2) manualize the program as it was piloted to diverse and marginalized clients; and (3) assess the agencies' fidelity to the program after it was finalized.
Based on our efforts to manualize a program conceived and developed by practitioners, this workshop will provide attendees with frameworks, strategies and tools (i.e., data collection forms and procedures) to collaborate with community-based social workers to manualize innovative practices for rigorous research. Attendees will learn collaborative research strategies to document innovative community-based interventions into manuals that include (1) a theory-of-change, (2) treatment goals, (3) session content, and (4) treatment delivery formats. Strategies for garnering client input into treatment manual development will be presented. Attendees will also receive a set of strategies and tools (i.e., data collection forms and procedures) to develop fidelity instruments that can be used to assess service providers' adherence to their promising programs. Throughout the workshop, the presenters will emphasize the importance of human subjects' ethics for these collaborative efforts. The presenters will also utilize interactive presentation methods to help workshop participants develop their knowledge and skills by providing: (1) a research case example for the application of participants' newly acquired knowledge/skills and (2) a question and answer session about the team's lessons learned.