Conceptually developing the “Phoenix: a survivor’s guide” research algorithm and prototype publication has proven quite challenging considering the aim was high to accomplish several goals:
Design, layout and scope. Submit IRB Proposal. Make initial contact with participant groups.
Field research and data collection (speak to 2-3 stakeholders).
Data analysis and review. Modify plan according to findings. Write rough draft and rough layout of the survival guide.
Have 1 sample copy of the survival guide for the class demo.
To date, these goals have been accomplished with the exception being the IRB submission. Although the initial questions and IRB submission has been completed, the response from initial field research has altered our course. During preliminary field research with stake holders, it was determined that further study was needed to more precisely target the publication. The initial concept of creating a printed publication for homeless populations was due to the assumption that internet connectivity may be of limited availability to this demographic. During initial discussion with homeless shelter administrators, this assumption was debunked as not applicable to shelter observations. Additionally, it was added that the cel phone has become a primary life-line for “vulnerable” populations and is considered one of the last things given up in a homeless or survival situation.
Although the availability of cel phone and data communications devices does not preclude the development of a survivor guide in general, it does alter the trajectory of behavioral research questions and research design. The use and availability of data communications may suggest an opportunity to deliver a technology, app or website to deliver fresh survival information to vulnerable communities.
It is felt that further field research be conducted in a grass-roots manner and several shelters be visited, volunteer time be committed and true insight into the population be gained prior to submitting a formal research proposal.
In the meantime, resource availability and survival tips, including bio-markers have been identified and documented to support the Survival Guide prototype. Additionally, photo documentation of resources and bio-markers has been achieved and a prototype publication will be produced.
New knowledge has been gained with respect to three important matters:
- Phoenix has established an intake organization for managing new homeless cases. Shelters are no longer solely responsible for managing intake and processing of vulnerable families and women.
- Phoenix still has not created this intake system for men who are the vast majority of the homeless population in AZ (68-71%)
- Homeless populations may have access to and/or use data communication technology and might warrant research specific to this fact.
In addition, new contacts have been made for accessing vulnerable communities in Phoenix for future research.