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7. Developing an Intervention

This toolkit provides supports for developing core components of a community intervention and adapting them to fit the context.

  1. Identify the community problem/goal to be addressed and what needs to be done. Include:
    1. Statement of the community problem/goal to be addressed
    2. Specific behaviors of whom that need to change
    3. Improvements in community-level outcomes that should result
      Related resources:
      Proclaiming Your Dream: Developing Vision and Mission Statements
      Creating Objectives
  2. Assess the level of the problem or goal. Some types of assessment include:
    1. Direct observation of the problem or goal
    2. Conducting behavioral surveys
    3. Interviewing key people in the community
    4. Reviewing archival or existing records
      Related resources:
      Developing a Plan for Identifying Local Needs and Resources
      Collecting Information About the Problem
      Conducting Surveys
      Conducting Interviews
      Using Public Records and Archival Data
  3. Describe the prioritized groups to benefit and those implementing the intervention. Include:
    1. Targets of change or prioritized groups for whom behaviors or outcomes should change
    2. Agents of change or those implementing the intervention
      Related resources:
      Identifying Targets and Agents of Change: Who Can Benefit and Who Can Help
  4. Indicate how you will obtain clients' input, identifying and analyzing problems and goals to be addressed by the intervention. Consider how you will use:
    1. Personal contacts - Who will you speak with about what?
    2. Interviews - What questions will you ask of whom about the problem or goal and possible interventions?
    3. Focus groups - From what groups will you seek what kinds of information?
    4. Community forums - What public situations would present an opportunity for you to discuss the problem or goal, and how will you use the opportunity?
    5. Concerns surveys - What questions of whom will you ask about the problem or goal and potential solutions?
      Related resources:
      An Introduction to the Problem Solving Process
      Analyzing Root Causes of Problems The "But Why?" Technique
      Conducting Interviews
      Conducting Focus Groups
      Conducting Public Forums and Listening Sessions
      Conducting Concerns Surveys
  5. Analyze the problem or goal to be addressed by the intervention. Use client input to specify:
    1. Those for whom the current situation is a problem. Who is affected by the issue, problem, or goal?
    2. The negative (positive) consequences for those directly affected and the broader community. What effect does the problem or issue have on the lives of those affected?
    3. Personal and environmental factors to be influenced (i.e., people's experience and history; knowledge and skills; barriers and opportunities; social support and caring relationships; living conditions that put them at risk for or protect them from experiencing certain problems).
    4. The behavior or lack of behavior that causes or maintains the problem. What behaviors of whom would need to change for the problem (or goal) to be eliminated (addressed).
    5. Who benefits and how from the situation staying the same (economically, politically).
    6. The conditions that need to change for the issue to be resolved (e.g., skills, opportunities, financial resources, trusting relationships).
    7. The appropriate level at which the problem or goal should be addressed (e.g., by individuals, families, neighborhoods, city or county government), and whether the organization has the capacity to influence such changes).
      Related resources:
      Defining and Analyzing the Problem
      Collecting Information About the Problem
      Identifying Targets and Agents of Change: Who Can Benefit and Who Can Help
      Understanding Risk and Protective Factors: Their Use in Selecting Potential Targets and Promising Strategies for Interventions
      Identifying Strategies and Tactics for Reducing Risks
      Creating Objectives
  6. Set goals and objectives for what "success" would look like. Include:
    1. A description of what success would look like. How will the community or group be different if the intervention is successful?
    2. Those goals the intervention is targeted to accomplish. How will you know if your intervention is successful?
    3. The specific objectives the intervention will achieve. What will change by how much and by when?
      Related resources:
      Creating Objectives
  7. Identify and assess "best practices" or "evidence-based interventions" that could help address the problem or goal. Indicate:
    1. Potential or promising “best practices” for your situation (consider various available databases and lists of “best” or evidence-based practices)
    2. How strong is the evidence that each potential “best practice” caused the observed improvement? (Rather than other associated conditions or potential influences)
    3. Whether the “best practice” could achieve the desired results in your community
    4. Whether the conditions (e.g., time, money, people, technical assistance) that affect success for the “best practice” are present
    5. (Based on the assessment) The “best practice” or evidence-based approach to be tried in your situation (Note: If no “best practices” are known or appropriate to your situation, follow the steps below to design or adapt another intervention.)
      Related resources:
      Generating and Choosing Solutions
      Criteria for Choosing Promising Practices and Community Interventions
  8. (Based on the assessment and literature) Specify the core components and elements of the intervention. Be specific about elements to be included for each of these five intervention components:
    1. Providing information and enhancing skills (e.g., conduct a public information campaign to educate people about the problem or goal and how to address it)
    2. Modifying access, barriers, exposures, and opportunities (e.g., increase availability of affordable childcare for those entering work force; reduce exposures to stressors)
    3. Enhancing services and supports (e.g., increase the number of centers that provide health care)
    4. Changing the consequences (e.g., provide incentives to develop housing in low-income areas)
    5. Modifying policies and broader systems (e.g., change business or public policies to address the goal)
      Related resources:
      Creating Objectives
      Developing an Action Plan
      Providing Information and Enhancing Skills
      Modifying Access, Barriers, and Opportunities
      Changing the Physical and Social Environment
      Enhancing Support, Incentives, and Resources
      Changing Policies
  9. Identify the mode of delivery through which each component and element of the intervention will be delivered in the community (e.g., workshops for skill training).
    Related resources:
    Developing an Action Plan
    Putting Your Solution into Practice
  10. Indicate how you will adapt the intervention or "best practice" to fit the needs and context of your community (e.g., differences in resources, cultural values, competence, language).
    Related resources:
    Adapting Community Interventions for Different Cultures and Communities
    Designing Community Interventions
  11. Develop an action plan for the intervention. Include:
    1. What specific change or aspect of the intervention will occur?
    2. Who will carry it out?
    3. When the intervention will be implemented or how long it will be maintained?
    4. Resources (money and staff) needed/ available?
    5. Who should know what about this?
      Related resources:
      Developing an Action Plan
  12. Pilot-test the intervention on a small scale. Determine how to:
    1. Test the intervention and with whom
    2. Assess the quality of implementation of the intervention
    3. Assess results and consequences or side effects
    4. Collect and use feedback to adapt and improve the intervention
  13. Implement the intervention, and monitor and evaluate the process (e.g., quality of implementation, satisfaction) and outcomes (e.g., attainment of objectives).
    Related resources:
    A Framework for Program Evaluation: A Gateway to the Tools

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