Outcome studies in the context of organizational inertia and political ideology
Faculty of Community Services, Education and Social Sciences
School of International, Cultural and Community Studies
In this chapter, the author presents examples from studies that he have carried out in diverse agency settings in Australia and South Africa, to explore how organizational inertia and political ideology affect the outcome research effort. He addresses the use of administrative data sets, study design and measurement, cross-national and cross-cultural differences, and funding in regard to outcome studies. The author also presents a plea for parallel research efforts to reduce the Australian dependence on culturally bound studies from the United States and Britain. A difficulty for researchers in Australia who are interested in quantitative outcome evaluations is obtaining study samples of sufficient size. Major differences in the social context such as how health and education services are funded and delivered in the US and Australia may also influence practitioners’ attitudes toward parents. Of concern is the lack of capacity in community service agencies to commit resources to rigorous research and evaluation efforts.