From Theory to Practice in the Design and Evaluation of Youth Development Programs: A Case Study; Demands to Justify Their Programs Scientifically Have Led Park and Recreation Practitioners to Seek Training in Research Methods. A Recent Training Program Shows How This Need Was Met

By Cato, Bertha | JOPERD--The Journal of Physical Education, Recreation & Dance, January 2007 | Go to article overview

From Theory to Practice in the Design and Evaluation of Youth Development Programs: A Case Study; Demands to Justify Their Programs Scientifically Have Led Park and Recreation Practitioners to Seek Training in Research Methods. A Recent Training Program Shows How This Need Was Met


Cato, Bertha, JOPERD--The Journal of Physical Education, Recreation & Dance


There is a growing interest in the concept of youth development, prevention courses, and related evaluation assessments among educators, researchers, and practitioners (Arthur, Hawkins, Pollard, Catalano, & Baglioni, 2002; Baldwin, 2000; Ennett et al., 2003; Hallfors & Godette, 2002). This interest has challenged professional practices relative to the design, implementation, and evaluation of youth development programs. According to Ellis, Braff, and Hutchinson (2001), there is an interest to move beyond the provision of facilities and equipment for traditional sports activities to the development of programs that will achieve specific goals beneficial to youths. Health professionals are giving more attention to what constitutes effectiveness in programs: structured versus nonstructured, interactive versus noninteractive, and evidence-based versus departmentally created. Moyer, Verhovsek, and Wilson (1997) postulated that health professionals have become interested in the use of a logic model to facilitate program evaluation. However, the application of this research knowledge has been limited and remains a challenge for youth development professionals (Ennett et al., 2003; Hallfors & Godette, 2002).

This article aims to shed light on the need for continuous training and staff development in the areas of program development and documentation, using the observations and deductions from a field occurrence experienced by the author as she worked with a group of youth development practitioners in Florida. The author shares a strategy (the Step-by-Step Flow Chart) designed to help practitioners to understand the research process and translate it into action.

These practitioners, parks and recreation professionals, offered programs on sport, leisure education, drug education, decision making, conflict resolution, and self-esteem building through dance and cultural events. To expand the program offerings, they were interested in seeking funding from the Governor's Drug-Free Communities Title IV Program. To the practitioners' surprise, they were required to demonstrate the effectiveness of their programs and theory-driven approach before competing for state funding. Specifically, they were required to show how theory had influenced the development of their programs, strategies, and learning outcomes, and how it had been documented. This requirement seemed overwhelming and intimidating to them, and they did not know where to start in order to fulfill this requirement. They realized their program designs were ineffective because they were not theory-driven or based on prevention standards. They reported this dilemma to the executive director of the Florida Recreation and Park Association, who involved the author.

The response of these parks and recreation practitioners corroborated Henderson's (2002) assertion that "practitioners are intimidated by scientific research and have problems translating research methods into practice." Parks and recreation programs are often based on common sense, good intentions, or prevailing social trends. Baker and Witt (2000) stated that recreation professionals are quick to advocate outcomes such as increased self-esteem, improved school achievement, and better communication skills, without adequately explaining the actual relationship between recreation and these outcomes. Some health, physical education, and recreation programmers have short-term, single-focused programs, like one-day workshops on self-esteem as prevention programs. However, scientific research requires a comprehensive and systematic process that is governed by critical decisions (Cato, Chen, & Corbett-Perez, 1998; Hallfors & Goodette, 2002; Moyer et al., 1997).

Youth development professionals increasingly find themselves operating in a world requiring diverse, comprehensive research-based programs and complementary program justifications. For the sake of credibility, it has become essential for youth development providers to link the theoretical foundation, the program design, and the evaluation (McKenzie & Smeltzer, 1997). …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

From Theory to Practice in the Design and Evaluation of Youth Development Programs: A Case Study; Demands to Justify Their Programs Scientifically Have Led Park and Recreation Practitioners to Seek Training in Research Methods. A Recent Training Program Shows How This Need Was Met
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.