Barker, D.C. & Gutman, M.A. (2014). Evaluation of Active Living Research: Ten Years of Progress in Building a New Field. American Journal of Preventive Medicine, 46(2), 208-215.
BACKGROUND: The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Active Living Research (ALR) program commissioned an evaluation of its initiative to assess 10 years (2001–2011) of progress in establishing a new interdisciplinary field to develop and translate research focused on policy and environmental factors affecting physical activity in children and families. PURPOSE: The second-phase evaluation (ALR-2) was conducted from March to July 2011 to measure progression from evidence- and field-building (Goals 1 and 2) to policy and practice contributions (Goal 3) to inform childhood obesity strategies, and to develop recommendations for a third phase (ALR-3). METHODS: The evaluation was a retrospective, in-depth descriptive study utilizing qualitative and quantitative methods. Key informant interviews (N¼100) across seven stakeholder groups were conducted and analyzed in 2011. Data from web-based surveys of grantee investigators conducted from 2007 to 2011 and analyzed in 2011 served as the primary quantitative source. RESULTS: Key indicators of ALR’s overall progress confirmed ALR’s success across its three goals: (1) establishing a strong research base: 309 publications filling major knowledge gaps; (2) building an interdisciplinary and diverse field: grantees represented 31 disciplines, with more than one quarter (28%) of investigators having r5 years of experience, of which 39% were people of color; and (3) using research to inform policy and practice: 62 examples, of which slightly more than one half (n¼32) resulted in actual policy or practice change. CONCLUSIONS: Overall, ALR met its three goals during ALR-2 and was well positioned to implement a third phase of the program to further accelerate the translation of its research into policy and practice.