Food & Fitness RAP

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A training practicum and workshop program has been developed to teach RAP users the skills necessary to use the tools and checklists in the Food & Fitness RAP manual , and, about how to use the RAP methodology, in general. The Rapid Assessment Procedures (RAP) methodology is based on a series of qualitative methodologies that include participant observation, interviewing techniques and focus group discussions. The value of participating in a RAP workshop and using the Food & Fitness RAP is in the proficiency that participants will gain in rapidly conducting assessments, developing programs or evaluating programs that are already in place. 

Participants in the training workshop will learn how to use the RAP methodology to “go deeper” into their understanding of the specific environmental factors which put communities at risk for childhood obesity. By participating in a RAP training workshop, the prospective Food and Fitness RAP user will gain research experience that will allow them to better understand the extent of childhood obesity in their communities, learn how to take and organize field notes, conduct observations, appreciate interviewing techniques, and compile, interpret and present qualitative results.

Anyone interested in learning how to use the RAP methodologies to better understand childhood overweight and obesity and the context in which it occurs is encouraged to attend a training workshop. It is not necessary for training workshop participants to have previous training in research methods. However, this does not preclude individuals with research experience from participating and sharing their experiences as they learn the RAP methodology.  Workshops attended by individuals with diverse backgrounds and expertise enhance the learning environment of the training experience and encourages participatory data gathering and information sharing.

Attending a Food & Fitness Training Workshop will teach RAP users the proper usage and adaptation of the checklists and data collection tools introduced in the Food & Fitness RAP manual . In addition to learning about and practicing the RAP methodology participants will be instructed in qualitative data analysis and report writing. The overall goal of the training workshops is for workshop participants to be able to train others in their networks in the Food and Fitness RAP methodologies. This "train-the-trainer" approach is suggested in the spirit of building capacity within communities interested in addressing childhood obesity.

Specifically, the training workshop can be conducted in either a two-or three-day format. The length of the training workshop will depend on the needs of the participants and the groups that participants represent. The Food & Fitness RAP Training Practicum consists of 13 modules. Of which, modules 1-4, 6, 8, 10 & 12 are considered core modules that will be presented at every workshop. Modules 5, 7, 9, 11 & 13 may be added as per the interest of workshop participants. These additional modules will necessitate a third day of training.  Topics and learning objectives for each of the modules are as follows:

MODULE 1: Understanding a “Problem”- Problem Identification and Statement

  • Understand the need to use of qualitative methods to further the work of the participant’s organization/project.
  • Understand the extent of the problem being addressed, i.e., what is it that you (the participant) know about the topic of childhood overweight and obesity as it relates to your interests or that of the organization that you represent?, what is it that you want to know about this topic?, and why do you want to know this information?

MODULE 2: The Role of the Field Worker

  • Understand the field workers’ roles in conducting qualitative methodology.
  • How to select a field worker; and
  • Learn about the ethical principles that guide interaction with the target audience

MODULE 3: Conducting an Observation

  • Understand the purpose of observations as a qualitative method.
  • Instruction in conducting observations & using observations as a means of gathering information about a particular topic of interest.
  • Instruction in writing field notes.

MODULE 4: Sampling

  • Understand how to select a sample from which data will be collected.
  • Learning how to differentiate between basic types of sampling techniques and the differences between quantitative and qualitative approaches to sampling.

MODULES 5 - 10: DATA COLLECTION STRATEGIES
MODULE 5: Observation

  • Understand more details about the purpose of observations as a qualitative method.
  • Gain practice in doing qualitative observations, including documenting with field notes

MODULE 6: Participant Observation

  • Instruction on the differences between Observation and Participant Observation.
     
  • Understand the differences between Observation and Participant Observation.

MODULE 7: Unstructured Interview

  • Instruction in the development of an unstructured interview checklist.
  • Learning how to identify with whom and in which circumstances you might use an unstructured interview.

MODULE 8: Semi-Structured Interview

  • Instruction on the differences between unstructured and semi-structured interviews.
  • Learn how to determine when, where and with who conducting semi-structured interviews can/should be conducted.
  • Understanding interviewing styles and how to elicit data from interviewees.

MODULE 9: Structured Interview

  • Instruction on the differences among unstructured, semi-structured and structured interviews.
  • Understand how to develop a structured interview guide.

 
MODULE 10: Focus Groups

  • Instruction in the processes and techniques involved in conducting a focus group.
  • Understand how the data provided by focus groups can inform the goals of a project/investigation/evaluation.

MODULE 11: Photovoice

  • Instruction in how photography can be used to understand and contextualize issues that are salient to communities or groups of people. To learn from an “insider” perspective.
  • Conduct a Photovoice exercise.

MODULE 12: Data Analysis

  • Instruction in how to tailor a conceptual model to guide analysis of data collected via RAP techniques.
  • Understand and applying basic qualitative analysis techniques to data collected via multiple and singular Food and Fitness RAP techniques as experienced in the workshop.

MODULE 13: Reporting Findings

  • Instruction in how to develop a summary report using qualitative data.
  • Understand the ethical implications of sharing findings with participants, as well as funding agencies and others interested. 

For more detailed information and to learn about workshop training opportunities, please contact us

Janel Heinrich
Co-Investigator/Project Director
Email: jheinr2@uic.edu

Robyn Wheatley
Research Assistant
Email: rwheat3@uic.edu

 
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