STRATEGIES TO ENHANCE STANDARDIZATION
Manual of Operation
It is essential to develop a detailed MOP for a behavioral intervention study at any stage along the pipeline. We recognize that MOPs will be more detailed for larger scale efficacy and effectiveness trials; however, having a documented protocol is also important at the early stages (e.g., focus groups, usability studies). There are numerous advantages to developing and implementing MOPs in intervention research. One clear advantage is that they help to enhance the internal validity of a study by standardizing the treatment protocols. They also serve as a valuable tool for training interventionists and other team members and enhance the efficiency of training. We recommend having team members review the MOP before they begin any other formal training/certification process. The use of treatment manuals also facilitates the ability to have the interventions replicated across locations and at different points in time. In addition, having a detailed MOP greatly facilitates dissemination and the preparation of reports and articles related to the intervention. An example of the MOP developed for the PRISM project is presented in Figure 6.2. This shows the level of detail that is included in most MOPs for efficacy or effectiveness studies. In all cases, it is important to ensure that a MOP for a study is thorough so that no important details are missing and that the MOP is current. The MOP must also be understandable, usable, and available. In other words, a MOP that is written in highly technical language and hidden on the back of someone’s bookshelf has limited utility. Finally, MOPs serve as a valuable training tool but do not suffice as a sole training mechanism.