Widespread and effective implementation of research-based prevention practices will be facilitated by the explicit adoption of a functional contextualist framework for prevention research. Such a framework has as its central goal predicting and influencing behavior and cultural practices. Research within this framework is evaluated in terms of its ability to contribute to that goal. As a result, it contributes directly to the ultimate goals of prevention science—affecting the incidence and prevalence of problems in populations. The approach contrasts with the mechanist framework, which is implicit in much behavioral science research. The mechanist framework has as its truth criterion the predictive verification of models of the interrelationships among variables. Such models can—but need not—identify manipulable variables that can be exploited to affect problems of interest. Such models require the inclusion of multiple cases for testing and this requirement may impede the tendency of scientists to work with a single school or community. Functional contextualism is suited to the study of the individual case. It provides a framework within which researchers can more readily collaborate with practitioners in the development and further evaluation of practices within the settings where practitioners will ultimately use those practices.
Prevention Science – Springer Journals
Published: Oct 18, 2004
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