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Assessing The Evidence: How Systems That Address Intimate Partner Violence Evaluate The Credibility And Utility Of Research Findings

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Despite advances in practitioner-researcher partnerships, barriers to the uptake of research evidence in practice sectors that address intimate partner violence (IPV) persist. The purpose of this exploratory study was to examine how practitioners across victim services, criminal justice, and law enforcement systems assess the usefulness and credibility of research evidence to their practice and policy-related decision making. Data were derived through qualitative interviews with 37 representatives of victim services, criminal justice, and law enforcement organizations in the state of Washington. Practitioners were asked to describe the criteria and processes used to determine the credibility and usefulness of research evidence they encounter. Practitioners across systems reported that the identity and credibility of the messenger conveying the research evidence, the relevance and applicability of the research to their own practice context, and the rigor of the methods used to derive the evidence are important criteria in assessing its utility and trustworthiness. A subset of respondents reported a suspicion of the research enterprise altogether, and/or a lack of resources available to engage with research evidence. Given the centrality of the messengers of research evidence in practitioners’ assessment of its credibility, IPV systems may be well-served to more deeply invest in research to practice intermediaries who are adequately resourced to translate evidence across sectors. Additional practice and research implications are discussed.

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This research was supported by grant NIJ #2014-IJ-CX-0032 from the National Institute of Justice.

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Correspondence to Erin A. Casey.

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Casey, E.A., Lindhorst, T.P. & Willey-Sthapit, C. Assessing The Evidence: How Systems That Address Intimate Partner Violence Evaluate The Credibility And Utility Of Research Findings. J Fam Viol 36, 259–270 (2021).

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