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Table 2 Challenges, lessons learned and possible solutions in the development of the CORD Sustainability Evaluation

From: Evaluating sustainability in the Childhood Obesity Research Demonstration project: the model and process

ChallengeLessonSolution
 1. Planning vs. ImplementationInvestigators must rely on observations of implemented activities, rather than merely considering planned activities.Use easy-to-complete checklists to verify planned activities and programming.
 2. Competing Priorities and ExpectationsComplex projects should have collaboratively designed common measures of sustainability constructs prior to implementationFunding announcements, agencies and collaborative teams should specify a priori sustainability measures that must be completed as part of the protocol.
 3. Flexibility in MeasuresConstructs should be clearly defined so that they may be measured using multiple strategies (e.g., direct observation, qualitative approaches, review of public datasets)Have strong and clearly defined set of theoretically constructs that can be measured in multiple ways.
 4. Site and Community CommunicationStrong and established communication channels linking investigators and community representatives can facilitate evaluation of the community context influencing projectsImplement communication strategies that involve investigators, implementers and data collectors to build relationships that enhance data collection.
 5. Publicly Available Data SetsTriangulate among public data sources to enhance data consistency and scientific rigor.Verify and identify redundant public data sets prior to beginning the study to improve validity of public data.
 6. Labor Intensive Evaluation ProcessesSustainability variables should be planned and adequately budgeted prior to the start of implementation and programming.Include the execution of the sustainability plan into initially budgeted activities as specified by funding announcements or agencies.