Bias

refers to an inclination to form prejudice or assumptions or deviate from the truth in data collection, data analysis, interpretation and publication which can lead to unfair or false conclusions.

Case management

is a collaborative process between a worker and client, to link the client with the necessary resources and services to meet their needs and achieve agreed outcomes. This process can include assessment, planning, education and one-on-one or group supports.

Client values

refers to the preferences, frameworks and belief systems of the individuals or groups approaching a service. These are unique to the individual and are shaped by their life experiences.

Collective Impact

refers to a systematic approach by organisations coming together for a common purpose to address a specific social problem. The premise is that combining forces in a structured way is likely to achieve greater and longer lasting impact than if individual organisations were to tackle the problem on their own.

Common Elements

are discrete techniques or sets of strategies used to engage clients and facilitate changes in attitudes or behaviours. They are found across empirically supported interventions (thus ‘common’) or based on evidence drawn from multiple sources (e.g. theory, practice handbooks and research).

Community-based participatory research

occurs when community members participate equally with researchers in creating research approaches and methods and working towards shared outcomes. Other community-based approaches to research include participatory action research, action research and mutual inquiry.

Critical appraisal

refers to the process of systematically assessing the value, methods, relevance, trustworthiness, transparency and ethics of a study and the validity of its results. This process determines the usefulness and relevance of a particular study to inform the design of a new program or solution.

Evidence-based programs (EBPs)

(manualised programs) sometimes called Evidence based Models (EBMs) are a structured package of practice elements or modules that have been combined into a clearly defined program including specifications for implementation. They are empirically supported by control trial evidence, demonstrating a link between program actions and outcomes for their intended client group.

Evidence-informed practice

is a holistic approach to service design and delivery, incorporating the best research evidence with client values and practice expertise. Being evidence-informed means working with clients to identify their goals and selecting the program models, strategies and practices that will work best to achieve these. It is a process of continuous learning, reflection and review based on unique service contexts and clients.

Implementation drivers

are the factors that come together to give program implementation momentum. Key drivers at a competency, organisational and leadership level include staff selection, training and coaching, internal administrative and data systems, and funding and motivation.

Implementation science

is the scientific study of methods to promote the uptake of evidence to improve the quality of service provision. It is about making sure that an organisation’s routine practices align with evidence-informed practice and about understanding what supports or hinders the uptake of proven programs and practices.

Intervention

is an action or set of actions taken by the practitioner or program that seeks to mitigate or prevent an unwanted situation.

Meta analyses

use statistical approaches that combine the results of multiple scientific studies to strengthen understanding of a topic or issue by deriving conclusions about the body of research associated with it in a systematic way.

Outcomes

The changes or benefits we expect to see as a result of implementing certain activities or interventions. Outcomes are often divided into long, medium and short-term and refer to changes for clients, communities and systems. Additionally, ‘implementation outcomes’ aim to articulate and measure the extent to which a program or practice is implemented successfully.

Person-centred practice

recognises that each client is unique with their own complex needs and desires and places a client’s own values and knowledge at the centre of decision making.

Practice expertise

Practice expertise is knowledge gained from study and experience of direct engagement with clients in a variety of settings and of seeing the results of particular practices and interventions firsthand. It includes knowledge and understanding of what has and hasn’t worked in the past and why, intuition and personal values.

Program logic

is a visual representation of the logic of a program. It generally shows objectives, inputs, activities, outputs, short term impacts, and longer term outcomes. It can be used as a planning or implementation tool, vehicle for communicating the logic of a program to stakeholders, or a means of facilitating effective evaluation.

Progressive universalism

is an approach to social justice that provides universally-accessible support with enhanced access for those people requiring more targeted support. The services are universal, but with a scale and intensity that is proportionate to the level of disadvantage.

Psychometric instruments

are tools used to measure mental processes including skills, abilities, personality traits and knowledge in a valid and reliable manner. Examples include the Kessler Psychological Distress Scale (K10) and the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator.

Quasi-experimental design

Seeks to create similar groups of participants, with one group receiving the intervention and the other group not receiving it. One strength of this approach is that it does not set up an artificial test environment so responses are likely to be more genuine or authentic. A limitation is that the test groups are not equivalent and pre-existing influences are not taken into account.

Randomised Control Trials

are scientific investigations that seek to reduce bias by randomly assigning participants to a treatment or control group. These can sometimes include double blind trials where neither the researchers nor participants know who is taking the treatment or the placebo. One benefit is that it offers the strongest empirical evidence of an intervention’s efficacy. A limitation is that it may not be widely applicable or transferable to other sites or circumstances and may not always reflect 'real 'life' because of its controlled setting.

Sector

the child and family services sector includes all organisations that provide support to children, young people and families experiencing vulnerability. It includes universal, targeted and tertiary services and the Department of Health and Human Services.

Strengths-based practice

focuses on the inherent strengths and resources of each individual or community and brings them to the fore rather than focusing on gaps and limitations. This approach was developed in response to approaches that focus on a client’s deficits or limitations rather than on the internal and external resources they already have or can draw on.

Systematic review

is a process of reviewing clearly articulated research by systematically identifying, selecting and appraising all relevant literature. It includes the analysis of any relevant existing data related to the research question. This process should be replicable in methodology and can be quantitative or qualitative in nature.

Theory of change

refers to a program methodology used to guide program planning and development by pinpointing how activities are understood to produce a series of results and intended outcomes. It helps to determine why, how and for whom a program works or doesn’t work, which will in turn guide decisions about evaluation and program development.

Validate

to demonstrate the truth or accuracy of an element or program in achieving intended outcomes.