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The realistic evaluation of an adapted thinking skills programme

OAKES, Peter and Murphy, Glynis and Giraud-Saunders, Alison and Akinshegun, Nzinga (2016) The realistic evaluation of an adapted thinking skills programme. Journal of Intellectual Disabilities and Offending Behaviour, 7 (1). pp. 14-24. ISSN 2050-8824

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Abstract or description

Purpose

– The purpose of this paper is to describe a project reporting the evaluation of an adapted form of the thinking skills programme (TSP) with prisoners with intellectual disabilities. In particular, the utility of realistic evaluation is explored as a response to the difficulties in applying research-based interventions in practice and rolling out pilot projects that have been evaluated under specific conditions.

Design/methodology/approach

– Realistic evaluation involves the identification of context, mechanism and outcome as a structure for programme evaluation and this was applied to the development and implementation of adapted TSP (ATSP) in three English prisons.

Findings

– Findings are reported in respect of the three aspects of context, mechanism and outcome to demonstrate the utility of realistic evaluation. Contextual findings suggested that ATSP is effective with male prisoners representing a range of intellectual disabilities, who would otherwise be excluded from mainstream programmes. The programme did not establish effectiveness with women or in community settings. The prisons involved were of different levels of security, but all three prisons were actively involved in positive approaches to difference and diversity and support for people with intellectual disabilities. For mechanism it was noted that all involved in the pilot sites were highly motivated to participate in the project and they were also achieving high scores for general quality in programme delivery. The realistic evaluation framework suggests that, where these factors are not present, some caution about possible effectiveness should be exercised. The evaluation approach proved to be helpful in identifying relevant factors to be considered in the wider implementation of ATSP.

Originality/value

– This is a novel approach to programme evaluation in psychological therapies that was shown to be of value in identifying conditions under which pilot schemes can be extended to other parts of a service, and research on interventions for offenders with intellectual disabilities applied in practice.

Item Type: Article
Faculty: School of Life Sciences and Education > Psychology
Depositing User: Library STORE team
Date Deposited: 13 Oct 2017 12:30
Last Modified: 13 Oct 2017 12:30
URI: http://eprints.staffs.ac.uk/id/eprint/3857

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