Participatory Research and Evaluation: From Best Practices for All States to Achievable Practices within Each State in the Context of the Master Settlement Agreement

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Abstract

Because the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) already assisted state tobacco control initiatives, many state health departments turned to CDC for guid-ance on how to use Master Settlement Agreement mon-ies. This article describes how CDC funded participa-tory research to establish local evidence and provided technical assistance for participatory program evalua-tion. The article (a) presents a telephone interview study of principal investigators (PIs) to determine how CDC could best facilitate participatory research and (b) identifies factors CDC considered to devise evaluation technical assistance that reflected local context. The interview study identified 8 areas where PIs needed CDC’s support to undertake participatory research: con-tinuity, timeliness, flexibility, clear and explicit expec-tations, appropriate and instructive accountability, creation of a vision for participatory research, tailored technical assistance, and enhancement of partner col-laboration and support. These findings are being used to inform CDC’s research funding. Meanwhile, userdriven technical assistance for participatory evaluation is being accessed by many states.

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