Choosing a strategy in researching family group conferencing: The unavoidability of making trade-offs

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Based on Patricia Golden’s methodological framework, this chapter evaluates research on family group conferencing (FGC) that has been produced with three different research strategies: randomized controlled trials (RCTs), surveys and field studies. It concludes that the findings produced by each strategy can be challenged even in terms of the standard on which it is supposed to excel – respectively control, representativeness and naturalness. The general finding of RCTs that FGC is not more or less (cost) effective than ‘usual’ care needs to be considered as provisional due to limited control in RCTs, particularly because it cannot be assumed that experimental groups are always with manipulation and control groups without manipulation. Surveys have not yet successfully narrowed down the representativeness of FGC outcomes to specific groups and settings because the impact of moderating factors has primarily been studied in isolation rather than holistically. While there is no reason to question the naturalness of field studies’ findings that care users who fulfil the FGC process generally report positive experiences, they leave unanswered the question whether unfulfilled FGC processes and ‘care as usual’ are accompanied with less positive experiences. Careful reconceptualization of FGC and adopting a ‘full-cycle’ approach by merging or sequencing different strategies in studying FGC are suggested as avenues to advance the research field.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationFamily Group Conference Research
Subtitle of host publicationReflections and Ways Forward
EditorsAnnie de Roo, Rob Jagtenberg
Place of PublicationThe Hague
Number of pages22
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2021

Research programs

  • SAI 2008-06 BACT


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