Research and Evaluation Strategy

The Research and Evaluation Strategy sets out the priorities for the next financial year. This is split into two sections, with research priorities being those things we need to know more about, and evaluation referring to how we will implement effective evaluation of specific interventions moving forward. Our focus is on prevention and inclusion in order to build resilience and reduce vulnerability.

Research Strategy

Our research priorities refer to those things that we would like to know more about through research, both conducted by the VRU or with academic partners. These priorities are drawn from, and developed in relation to, the detail within the Strategic Needs Assessment (SNA) and the contours of violence it has identified within the Thames Valley. Some further themes beyond the SNA are also identifiable.

Our key research areas can be broadly split into those focused on people and those focused on places. We aim to understand these areas in more detail in our drive to reduce violence.

We welcome discussion and collaboration in researching these themes from those interested in these areas or with relevant experience and/or expertise:

People

Places

Finally, developing on our collaboration with the Ethox Centre, further research around data ethics and the structures of our Data Ethics Committee will be undertaken in order to embed ethical practice into the heart of what we do as we seek to use public data for public good, with and for our communities.

To support the development of research in the VRU some work will be done on how we can facilitate research, including the development of appropriate governance, research proposal forms, how this will tie in with the Data Ethics Committee and so on. The development of these structures will then tie into our Strategic Research Oversight Group, where a range of academic expertise can be drawn upon to support the development of research, applications for funding, and knowledge transfer in relation to our identified priorities.

Evaluation Strategy

The evaluation strategy refers to specific interventions and things we will evaluate, and how we might go about ensuring robust future evaluations of the effects of programmes. The latter will form around three key poles:

  1. In those instances where a programme has been designed without embedding evaluation in it, a process evaluation will be undertaken to establish what needs to happen to the scheme in order for robust evaluation to take place
    1. Included in this will be how we can use data to identify cohorts for early intervention activities.
  2.  Improving understanding of evaluation
    1. This will be completed via workshops and will look at the importance of early research design for robust evaluation,
    2. It will also look at key things needed for effective research.
  3. Developing governance around evaluation, including
    1. Developing key documents and information needed for effective evaluation planning.

Specific evaluation of interventions will then be undertaken as follows and an evaluation plan will be developed for each:

Consequently, as can be seen above, the research and evaluation strategy will be to build effective processes around our research and evaluation work to ensure that both can be targeted to where they are needed most, and capacity can be built by developing a greater understanding of the processes required across the board.

Special Interest Groups

Research and evaluation is best when it is communicated to others. In aid of such communication we will continue to develop our Special Interest Groups (SIG) in order to facilitate the sharing of knowledge. Research has its greatest value when the work is communicated to others in forums of open discussion and SIGs are a crucial part of that. We currently run four SIGs within the VRU focussing on:

We are also involved in collaborating with the Global Law Enforcement and Public Health Association, running their Violence Prevention Special Interest Group.

Developing these groups will continue to emphasize the VRUs commitment to innovative research and ensuring that research is shared and communicated more widely in order to drive best practice.