Frequently Asked Questions
What is the difference between research and program evaluation?
This is a common question that professionals still ask; many papers have been written to answer it. To respond to the question here, it is best we provide a couple of links to clear and informative discussions of the differences:
Some highlights from these papers help to identify the differences:
- Program Evaluation focuses on programs/services; Research focuses on populations/people.
- Program Evaluation’s goal/purpose is to improve; Research’s purpose is to prove.
- Program Evaluation is concerned with whether a program meets its goals; Research is concerned with increasing knowledge/understanding.
Perhaps a relatively easy way to differentiate Program Evaluation and Research specific to Radius is to think of Program Evaluation a related to the services client receive and Research as related to the clients who are receiving the services.
How do I get involved in Radius’ research?
When first attending Radius, new clients complete a Service Agreement which provides information about the research program at Radius. By signing this form, you agree to allow information collected from you or about you (e.g., reports from other service providers) to be used in research. Sometimes, researchers are collecting new information about clients and services; when this happens a full explanation of the project will be provided to you; you may choose to participate or decline participation. Regardless of your decision about research participation, there will be absolutely no impact on the services you receive at Radius.
Do I have to participate and will anyone know if I did or did not participate?
No one is under any obligation to participate in our research. Participation in some studies is completely voluntary and the study will be discussed with you prior to requesting your participation. In other cases, previously collected or provided information (e.g., responses on questionnaires, information in files) is used in research studies. Regardless of the type of research being conducted, no one providing information for the research will be identified in any way. In fact, in most cases, no one outside the researchers, and sometimes a clinical team member, has access to identifying information. Information provided by many participants is combined and reported as a group making it virtually impossible to identify any specific participant.
How is research information shared? Who receives research information?
Prior to any research project being conducted, an ethic committee carefully reviews and determines whether there are any risks involved. Part of this review is also determining who can receive the research information. In many cases, a summary of the study is posted on Radius’ website; there may also be conference presentation, papers published in academic journals, or chapters published in books. Extensive safeguards are in place to ensure no participant can be identified; if there was any risk, then the ethics committee would specify whether certain results can be reported and/or how specific results should be reported.
What kind of research does Radius conduct?
There are an endless number of questions that researchers can attempt to answer by conducting research. Similarly, there are many research questions that can be asked regarding Radius and its clients; therefore, each year Radius determines its research goals for the upcoming year. Some of the research topics currently being investigated include trying to understand if there are any family related factors of children with concerning sexual behaviours; another study currently occurring is related to understanding the short- and long-term behaviour victims may engage in. Ultimately, no matter what research questions we are trying to answer, our research is always focused on learning more about our client groups and how we can best benefit them with our services and programs.