Innovations in Effective Compassion: Compendium of Research Papers. Presented at the Faith-Based and Community Initiatives Conference on Research, Outcomes, and Evaluation. Appendix: The FBCI Research Compendium Paper Selection Process

07/01/2008

One of the goals of the White House Office of Faith-Based and Community Initiatives is to highlight the wide range of research on new initiatives and changes in governance that have occurred since the inception of the Faith-Based and Community Initiative (FBCI) in 2001. For this research conference, the Office of the Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation and the Center for Faith-Based and Community Initiatives in the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services contracted with RTI International to issue a national call for abstracts and to convene an expert panel to review and recommend abstracts for the development of research papers.

RTI solicited abstracts focused on research studies sponsored by the federal government and private or nonprofit organizations that examine federal and state faith-based and community-based initiatives. Dissemination outlets for the call for abstracts included universities; professional associations; think tanks; social research and evaluation organizations; international, federal, and state government agencies; and federal grantee listservs. A variety of topic areas were listed as examples of areas of interest, including criminal justice and prisoner reentry, innovations in governance (e.g., capacity building, intermediary organizations), healthy marriage and healthy relationships, youth education and development, child welfare, international health, workforce development, welfare assistance, health, and substance abuse.

Because research on the FBCI is being conducted and sponsored by a variety of institutions, expert panel members were selected to represent diverse organizational affiliations, including academic institutions, foundations, and federal and state agencies. The expert panel members included

  • Brian Grim, the Pennsylvania State University
  • Carole Thompson, Annie E. Casey Foundation
  • Jocelyn Whitfield, Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration
  • Christopher Winship, Harvard University
  • Don Winstead, Florida Department of Children and Families

The expert panel scored the abstracts based on presentation of paper topic, discussion of research objectives, discussion of data, method and analysis, the strength of the literature review, and the implications for future research, policy, and practice. Each of the five areas was worth 20 points, and reviewers were asked to assign an overall descriptor and a point score for each area. There was also an optional open-ended overview section where a description of strengths and weaknesses could be provided. Each abstract received a blinded review by two or three panel members.

The overarching aim of the panel was to select abstracts for papers that would present a wide range of programs and perspectives on the FBCI. The panel convened to review ratings, discuss the top-rated abstracts, and recommend abstracts for development into full papers for presentation under one of two conference track. For Track 1, 10 abstracts were selected that are national in scope. Track 1 papers are published in a compendium of conference research. For Track 2, the panel recommended 15 abstracts by emerging research scholars on government partnerships and faith-based organizations. Track 2 papers are available on the conference Web site.

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