As we have suggested, behavioral intervention research can be exciting, yet it is complex and involves more than the simple design or singular test of an intervention. It requires consideration and understanding of a broad range of issues that may impact an intervention and its delivery (Figure 1.2). Thus, in this book, we cover a broad array of topics of high relevance to, and that impact on, the conduct of behavioral intervention research. We consider the entire “behavioral intervention pipeline” from conceptualization of an intervention through its implementation and sustainability in a practice setting, and examine how the context in which interventions are embedded affects their development and advancement. While our focus is not on implementation science directly, we draw upon it in terms of how it can help to inform the development and evaluation of an intervention. We emphasize the need for behavioral intervention researchers to consider the entire pipeline in their endeavors.
We start with what we consider to be the “heart of the matter” in Part I, by examining recommended pipelines for developing and constructing an intervention, specific considerations and steps that inform what we refer to as “a period of discovery,” how theory informs intervention development, the selection of delivery characteristics, ways to standardize an intervention, and the potential of delivering interventions through technology. Next, in Part II, we tackle considerations related to evaluating interventions, including selecting control groups and identifying samples; recruiting and retaining study participants; using mixed methods to evaluate different aspects of intervention development; determining whether treatment effects are real by attending to fidelity; and the critical ethical considerations that underlie all study-design decision making. In Part III, we move on to look at outcomes measures and analytic considerations, linking both to intervention intent. We also explore analytic considerations such as clinical significance and economic evaluations. Part IV examines implementation science and, in particular, how its theories can inform ways to advance an intervention. We also examine what it takes to disseminate an intervention if the evidence supports its use. Finally, in Part V, we delve into professional issues such as developing and maintaining a cohesive staff, grant writing, and publishing. Throughout, we provide practical guidance and offer real exemplars. We also identify gray areas that need further understanding through research.
Implicitly, this book grapples with and raises big and critical queries:
- ? How do we move seamlessly from intervention design to full implementation?
- ? How do we design interventions so that they are more market ready if effective?
- ? How can we better identify, define, and standardize actions related to each phase of intervention development to enable the current and next generation of behavioral intervention researchers to succeed?
We seek to motivate the reader to participate in the behavioral intervention research arena, be more informed and better prepared to take on the exciting challenges that it presents, and enter into a dialogue about this form of research to derive consensus and empirically based answers to these big questions.