Week 5 Discussion

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Session 5 Assignment

In this session you will develop two critical components of your research. 

Theory of Change and Assumptions: 

From the research questions or hypotheses you have developed to conduct research, you will now convert this into an actionable format. This will include introducing the Theory of Change and key assumptions using the IF/THEN model. This will help finalize your research design. 

Example

Research questions: 

How does substance abuse or drug dependence impact homelessness in the City of Los Angles?

Do homeless residents have access to substance abuse programs for addressing Los Angeles’ homeless problem?

Will integration of substance abuse programs to Los Angeles’ shelter support and Homeless Action Plans help?

Converting to the Theory of Change format:

The Theory of Change for this study is: If drug dependence is addressed, shelter support services are reinforced, and program accessibility is strengthened, then Los Angeles’ Homeless Action Plans Homeless Action Plan will see increased implementation effectiveness.

This can be broken down into the following three assumptions:

IF substance abuse programs are connected and integrated into Los Angeles’ Homeless Action Plans, THEN there will be a decline in homeless cases.

IF shelters support services are improved and upgraded in Los Angeles’ Homeless Action Plans, THEN there will be a decline in homeless cases.

IF program access is expanded and promoted in Los Angeles’ Homeless Action Plans, THEN there will be a decline in homeless cases.

Operational Definitions:

Please read the content item on Operational Definitions (see attached operational definition word document). For this session’s assignment, you will operationalize the terminology or concepts important to your research. Operationalize, in this context, means to convert a research question or hypothesis into language that will communicate how you might go about collecting and measuring them. 

This will serve two purposes. First you will be able to ensure participants in your study will understand the terminology in as close to the same way as possible. Secondly, the way you operationalize and define your dependent variable will identify your plan for measurement.

One way to begin is to look at your main question, hypothesis, or assumption, and identify any terms or phrases that may require an operational definition. The next step would be to provide a definition that will explain the term or phrase as concretely as possible for purposes of your study. As you operationalize terminology for your proposed research, you should be able to identify:

§ Where your data will come from

§ How it will be measured

§ What level of change is necessary to validate or invalidate the assumptions in your theory of change?

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