Developing Interventions When There Is Little Science

  • Carol W. RunyanEmail author
  • Kimberley E. FreireEmail author

Injury control practice would be easy if only there were packaged programs that were sure to work in any setting and that all one had to do was open them up, implement them and—Voilá—watch the rates of injury decline. It would be like having a simple cake mix that works anywhere with only the addition of water. But this is not the case. Few highly successful packaged programs exist. And even when evidence of success exists, it can be hard to know which program components were the active “ingredients” responsible for the outcomes. There is often no clear recipe for exactly replicating the intervention. Plus, no two settings are completely alike, requiring careful adaptation to the particular environmental and cultural characteristics of different populations. Program development is not as straightforward as taking a new medical procedure from one hospital to the next. Injury and the prevention of injury, as with other complex public health problems, result from the interplay of complicated social dynamics that must be accommodated.

This chapter is designed to help practitioners develop strategies for intervention development that uses available and appropriate evidence when it does exist and facilitates progress even when scientifi c evidence has not been well developed. It addresses what planners need to consider in assessing an injury problem and structuring an intervention by applying a systematic approach to planning that relies on critical thinking skills. In addition, this chapter includes questions for practitioners to consider and suggests important areas for professional development.


Injury Prevention Injury Risk Participatory Action Research Safety Climate Critical Thinking Skill 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. Barling, J., & Frone, M. (2004). The psychology of workplace safety. Washington, DC: American Psychological AssociationGoogle Scholar
  2. Bronfenbrenner, U. (1979). The ecology of human development. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University PressGoogle Scholar
  3. Brownson, R. C., Baker, E. A., Leet, T. L., & Gillespie, K. N. (2003). Evidence Based Public Health. New York: Oxford PressGoogle Scholar
  4. Elder, R. W., Shults, R. A., & Sleet, D. A. (2004). Effectiveness of mass media campaigns in reducing alcohol-impaired driving: A systematic review. American Journal of Preventive Medicine, 25, 57–65CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Freire, K., & Runyan, C. W. (2006). Planning models: PRECEDE/PROCEED and Haddon Matrix. In A. C. Gielen, D. Sleet, & R. J. DiClemente (Eds.), Injury prevention: Behavior change theories, methods and applications. San Francisco: Jossey-BassGoogle Scholar
  6. Gielen, A. C., & McDonald, E. M. (2002). Using the PRECEDE-PROCEED planning model to apply health behavior theories. In K. Glanz, B. K. Rimer, & F. M. Lewis (Eds.), Health behavior and health education: theory, research and practice (pp. 409–436, 3rd ed.). San Francisco: Jossey-BassGoogle Scholar
  7. Glasgow, R. E., Lichtenstein, E., Marcus, A. C. (2003). Why don’t we see more translation of health promotion research to practice? Rethinking the efficacy-to-effectiveness transition. American journal of Public Health, 93 (8), 1261–1267PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Green, L. W., & Kreuter, M. W. (2005). Health program planning: An educational and ecological approach (4th ed.). New York: McGraw-HillGoogle Scholar
  9. Haddon, W. (1972). A logical framework for categorizing highway safety phenomena and activity. Journal of Trauma, 12, 193–207PubMedGoogle Scholar
  10. Haddon, W. (1980). Advances in the epidemiology of injuries as a basis for public policy. Public Health Reports, 95, 411–421PubMedGoogle Scholar
  11. Haskins, R., & Gallagher, J. (1981). Models for social policy analysis: An introduction. Norwood, NJ: Ablex PressGoogle Scholar
  12. Hofman, D. A., & Tetrick, L. E. (2003). Health and safety in organizations: A multilevel perspective. San Francisco: Jossey-BassGoogle Scholar
  13. Hopkins, D. P., Briss, P. A., Ricard, C. J., Husten, C. G., Carande-Kulis, V. G., Fielding, J. E., Alao, M. O., McKenna, J. W., Sharp, D. J., Harris, J. R., Woollery, T. A., Harris, K. W., & Task Force on Community Preventive Services. (2001). Reviews of evaluations regarding interventions to reduce tobacco use and environmental exposure to tobacco smoke. American Journal of Preventive Medicine, 20 (2S), 16–66PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Leung, M. W., Yen, I. H., & Minkler, M. (2004) Community based participatory research: A promising approach to increasing epidemiology’s relevance in the 21st century. International Journal of Epidemiology, 33 (3), 499–506PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. McRae, D., & Wilde, J. (1979). Policy analysis for public decisions. Belmont, CA: Duxbury PressGoogle Scholar
  16. Minkler, M. (2000). Using participatory action research to build health communities. Public Health Reports, 115 (2–3), 191–197PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Nation, M., Crusto, C., Wandersman, A., Kumpfer, K. L., Seybolt, D., Morissey-Kane, E., & Davino, K. (2003). What works in prevention. Principles of effective prevention programs. American Psychologist, 58(6–7), 449–456PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. National Training Initiative for Injury and Violence Prevention (NTI) (2005). Retrieved March 1, 2006, from
  19. Patton, C. V., & Sawicki, D. S. (1993). Basic models of policy analysis and planning. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice HallGoogle Scholar
  20. Rivara, F. P., & Cummings, P. (2001). Writing for publication in Archives of Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine. Archives of Pediatric and Adolescent Medicine, 155, 1090–1092Google Scholar
  21. Runyan, C. W. (1998). Using the Haddon Matrix: Introducing the third dimension. Injury Prevention, 4, 302–307PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Runyan, C. W. (2003). Introduction: Back to the future—Revisiting Haddon’s conceptualization of injury epidemiology and prevention. Epidemiologic Reviews, 25, 60–64PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Runyan, C. W., Fischer, P., Moore, J., Waller, P., & Hooten, E. (1993). Attempting to change local injury policy. Family & Community Health, 5(4), 6–74Google Scholar
  24. Rychetnik, L., & Wise, M. (2004). Advocating evidence-based health promotion: reflections and a way forward. Health Promotion International, 19(2), 247–257PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Stokols, D. (1992). Establishing and maintaining healthy environments: Toward a social ecology of health promotion. American Psychologist, 47, 6–22PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. W. K. Kellogg Foundation. (2004). Logic model development guide: Using logic models to bring together planning, evaluation and action. Retrieved August 5, 2005, from

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.UNC Injury Prevention Research CenterChapel Hill
  2. 2.University of North CarolinaChapel Hill

Personalised recommendations