Research and Practice-based Evidence

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, research is a systematic investigation designed to develop or contribute to generalizable knowledge (Perlman, 2008). Because of the design criteria, research studies typically are complex and costly. Therefore, much intervention work is done as public health practice that involves designing and implementing strategies based on current understanding of the science.  The literature reviewed and abstracted for development of Intervention MICA included both research and practice-based evidence.

Research- and practice-based criteria were used to select relevant literature articles for inclusion in development of each of the intervention topics. Articles that did not meet these criteria were excluded from the abstraction process.

Research-based criteria:

  • Inclusion of evaluation components (e.g., process, impact, outcome)
  • Presentation of positive outcomes (e.g., intermediate, behavior, health)
  • Utilization of pre-/post- or between groups comparison study design (but not limited to randomized controlled trials)

Practice-based criteria:

  • Inclusion of community-based intervention activities
  • Provision of detailed intervention description
  • Representation of a variety of settings, populations and strategies

Evidence-based Strategies

The findings of the literature search were used to prepare a summary of the evidence of the effectiveness for the following six intervention strategies:

  • Campaigns and promotions,
  • Provider education,
  • Group education,
  • Individual education,
  • Supportive relationships, and
  • Environment and policy.

For each of the intervention topics in Intervention MICA, a table is provided that summarizes the research and practice-based evidence for each of the six strategies as it relates to changing:

  • health outcomes;
  • health behaviors;
  • knowledge, skills, and beliefs;
  • social support; and
  • environment and policy.

Caution should be used in using the information in the table. The table does not tell you that one intervention strategy is more effective than another strategy for the following reasons:

  • Some intervention strategies are relatively new and there is not yet enough evidence to suggest whether the strategy is effective.
  • Some intervention strategies may have been effective with certain populations and in specific settings, but not sufficient to generalize to all populations or settings.
  • Several intervention strategies may have been used as one part of a larger intervention study, and, while findings for the entire study indicate that the intervention works, it is difficult to know which of the strategies alone may have produced the positive results.

Evidence-based Interventions

For each intervention topic, a table summarizing example evidence-based interventions is provided. To develop the table, research findings were abstracted according to the following components:

  • Study Design: The type of research design that was used, including experimental, quasi-experimental, and cohort.
  • Sample size: The number of participants that were evaluated at the end of the intervention period.
  • Evaluation Methods and Measures: Whether process, impact and or outcome evaluation was conducted, along with the evaluation methods and measures used.
  • Theoretical Foundation: The theoretical framework and constructs that were used to develop the intervention.
  • Ecological Framework: Whether intervention approaches addressed multiple ecological levels, a single ecological level or none at all (e.g., individual, social/interpersonal, organization, community, policy).
  • Health and Behavior Outcomes Assessed: Specific changes in the outcome of interest that were assessed, such as behaviors, health, morbidity, mortality, quality of life and their results.
  • Intermediate Outcomes Assessed: Specific changes in intermediate outcomes that were assessed, including knowledge, attitudes, social support, policy change and their results.

Additionally, practice-based findings were abstracted according to the following components:

  • Populations: The population targeted by the intervention, rationale for selecting this population, recruitment strategies, barriers for working with the population and strategies used to address the barriers.
  • Settings: The settings in which the intervention was implemented, the rationale for choosing the setting, barriers to working in the setting and strategies used to address the barriers.
  • Partners:  The partners involved in the intervention, how they were engaged and their roles.  
  • Goal/Purpose: The overall goal/purpose and objectives of the intervention.
  • Planning/Preparation: The steps taken to plan and prepare for implementation of the intervention.
  • Intervention Strategies: The intervention strategies and activities that were used to implement the intervention.
  • Maintenance activities: The activities used to maintain the intervention activities over time.
  • Resources: The resources used to conduct the intervention and evaluation, including budget, staff, and materials.
  • Implementation protocol: Whether or not there is a detailed guide on how the intervention was implemented.
  • Duration: The length of time to complete the intervention activities (e.g., number of days, weeks, months).
  • Certifications or Training: If there is a stated or implied need for training or certification in order to deliver the intervention.
  • Tools: If intervention or evaluation tools are provided or referenced.
  • Technology: If high, low or no levels of technology or resources are needed to implement the intervention.
  • Challenges: If challenges to implementation are described.
  • Lessons learned: Implications for practice and any lessons the researchers learned as a result of conducting the intervention and evaluation.

The information abstracted from the research and practice-based literature was used to prepare an abstract for each intervention deemed to be evidenced-based. Abstracts are organized to include the following:

  • Title of the Intervention
  • Website, if available
  • Intervention Strategies utilized
  • Purpose of the Intervention
  • Population
  • Setting
  • Partners
  • Intervention Description
  • Theory, if mentioned
  • Resources required
  • Evaluation
  • Outcomes
  • Maintenance
  • Lessons Learned
  • Citations

The purpose for providing summaries of evidence-based strategies and example interventions is to provide the information needed to develop an intervention based on the identified needs of the community.

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