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Talks at Twelve: Thomas Archibald, Thursday, December 12, 2013

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Research on Translation: A Study of Evidence-Based Programs and Practices
Thomas Archibald, Virginia Tech

Thursday, December 12, 2013
Beebe Hall, 2nd floor conference room

This talk is free and open to all. No registration is required. Lunch will be served. Metered parking is available in the Plantations lot across the road from Beebe Hall.

Extension, outreach, and community education programs should be evidence-based. On the face of it, this dictum is at once warranted, welcome, and slightly clichéd.

However, the “evidence-based” movement’s more narrow definition of evidence—favoring randomized controlled trials as the “gold standard”—has stimulated much debate and critique. Such critique, though insightful, often lacks grounding in practical settings. To address that lack, Dr. Archibald’s dissertation research examines what actually happens, in practice, when people support the implementation of evidence-based programs or engage in related efforts to make non-formal education more “evidence-based.” This qualitative study is focused on three cases: ACT for Youth, 4-H, and an adolescent sexual health program in Kenya. It offers a novel perspective on the translational process itself, revealing some of the nuances and contingencies involved in connecting research and practice.

Tom Archibald is an Assistant Professor and Extension Specialist in the Agricultural and Extension Education Department at Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University (Virginia Tech), where he focuses on program evaluation, evaluation capacity building, and research-practice integration. He received his PhD in Education from Cornell earlier this year. From 2008 to 2013, he was a Graduate Research Assistant with the Cornell Office for Research on Evaluation under the direction of Professor Bill Trochim. Previously, he was a Youth Development Program Manager with Cornell Cooperative Extension of Tompkins County and an Environmental Education Volunteer with the Peace Corps in Gabon.

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