Society for Social Work and Research

Sixteenth Annual Conference Research That Makes A Difference: Advancing Practice and Shaping Public Policy
11-15 January 2012 I Grand Hyatt Washington I Washington, DC

17187 The Use of Concept Mapping to Create a Coalition Logic Model and Evaluation Tool

Thursday, January 12, 2012: 2:00 PM
Latrobe (Grand Hyatt Washington)
* noted as presenting author
Anna C. Faul, PhD, Associate Dean of Academic Affairs, University of Louisville, Louisville, KY
Joseph, G. D'Ambrosio, MSSW, Doctoral Student, University of Louisville, Louisville, KY
Pamela A. Yankeelov, PhD, Associate Dean Student Services, University of Louisville, Louisville, KY
Justin Miller, MSSW, Doctoral Student, University of Louisville, Louisville, KY
Susan Rhema, MSSW, Doctoral Student, University of Louisville, Louisville, KY
Rhonda Amer, MSSW, Doctoral Student, University of Louisville, Louisville, KY
Rebecca Clark, MSSW, Doctoral Student, University of Louisville, Louisville, KY
Background: Community coalitions are a visible force for addressing health disparities related to diabetes care and management. Coalitions promote a community development process building member confidence, competencies, and social connections. They expand health promotion beyond individual lifestyle change by influencing key decision makers and social policy. This paper reports a mixed methodology participatory action approach used to develop a logic model with an evaluation instrument for a coalition formed in three rural counties in a Midwest state. The coalition's purpose was to create supportive communities for rural older diabetic adults promoting healthy living and quality health care. Coalition activities are funded through a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention grant.

Methods: Concept mapping integrates qualitative and quantitative approaches in a multi-step process including group processes (brainstorming, sorting, rating), multivariate statistical analysis (multidimensional scaling, hierarchical cluster analysis), and group interpretation of conceptual maps (Kane & Troachim, 2007). It is used in participatory action research as a method to ensure that the voice of each individual is reflected in the final solution. A brainstorming session was facilitated with 24 individuals using a focus statement: “Describe what this coalition needs (resources, skills, attitude, structure, members, leadership, etc.) in order to be successful…” Statements were recorded (N=101) and used in the sorting and rating phase where the members grouped the statements into piles based on statement similarity, piles were labeled and rated according to importance and feasibility of each statement.

Using the Concept System proprietary software, a similarity matrix was constructed representing relative similarity of member's sorting statements. The total similarity matrix was analyzed using non-metric multi-dimensional scaling (MDS) analysis. The output consisted of a point map with each numbered point representing a statement. The MDS analysis was used as input for the hierarchical cluster analysis applying Ward's algorithm. The results of the hierarchical cluster analysis were superimposed on the multidimensional scaling results creating a cluster map, and go-zones that visually showed the statements in each cluster evaluated as very important and highly feasible to implement (Rosas & Camphausen, 2007).

Results: Eight clusters were identified, namely leadership, membership, meeting structure, organizational structure, public relations/marketing, critical activities, core values and sustainability. The final solution's stress value was 0.27, showing acceptable correspondence between the similarities and the map. Average cluster bridging values ranged between 0.13 and 0.71 with organizational structure showing the most cohesiveness and sustainability showing the least cohesiveness. Critical activities showed the highest rating in terms of importance (4.33 on a scale from 1 to 5), meeting structure showing the lowest importance rating (3.20). Leadership showed the highest rating for feasibility (4.19) with sustainability showing the lowest feasibility rating (3.64). A logic model was developed that guided the coalition through the development of healthy communities as well as an annual evaluation tool.

Implications: Concept mapping has shown as an effective methodology to create a structure and evaluation tool for a new community based coalition. The principles of participatory action research were utilized with this method to create empowerment for individual members on the coalition.