The Society for Social Work and Research

2013 Annual Conference

January 16-20, 2013 I Sheraton San Diego Hotel and Marina I San Diego, CA

Building Research Capacity in Social Work: The Role of RCTs in Program and Policy Innovation

Thursday, January 17, 2013: 10:15 AM-12:15 PM
Executive Center 3A and 3B (Sheraton San Diego Hotel & Marina)
Mark W. Fraser, PhD, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Michal Grinstein-Weiss, PhD, Washington University in Saint Louis, Jeffrey M. Jenson, PhD, University of Denver and Mark F. Testa, PhD, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Findings from randomized controlled trials (RCTs) increasingly inform public policy decisions, including the design of health and employment services. But for a variety of reasons, RCTs, also called randomized field trials outside of laboratory or clinical settings, have yet to gain a firm foothold in many areas of social work practice, such as child welfare and community organization. This session examines how RCTs are changing the stakes of what qualifies as credible evidence. It will present a how-to guide on getting buy-in for mounting RCTs using several examples from social work. The session will examine the types of resistance typically encountered and how to take into account such concerns. It will supply tangible examples of putting these new ideas into practice, including pre-randomization consent designs to improve generalizability and place-based randomized designs to evaluate large-scale innovations. It is intended to be relevant and useful for practitioners, administrators, educators and researchers in the university, the voluntary sector, government and business.
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