Where to Search for Evidence of Effective Programs

Collection of resources offers publicly available research and tools

Where to Search for Evidence of Effective Programs
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Note: This fact sheet was updated on Oct. 12, 2020 to include the Pathways to Work Evidence Clearinghouse.

Overview

The Results First Clearinghouse Database contains information from nine clearinghouses1that rate programs in social policy areas such as behavioral health, criminal justice, education, and public health, based on the findings of rigorous evaluations.

Beyond the sources included in this database, many additional publicly available resources provide information on the effectiveness of programs and practices in different formats and based on a variety of research types. Some of them are updated on a regular basis like the Clearinghouse Database; others are static publications about specific programs or topics.

The following is a compilation of national and international resources that highlight the efficacy of programs and practices. They are organized under broad themes based on their primary area of focus.

Note: Resources that are not regularly updated have an asterisk at the end of their title. The descriptions of each listed resource come directly from the organizations’ websites and were not written by Pew.

Aging and disability

Aging and Disability Evidence-Based Programs and Practices*

Administration for Community Living, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services

Link: https://acl.gov/programs/strengthening-aging-and-disability-networks/aging-and-disability-evidence-based-programs

Brief description: The purpose of the Aging and Disability Evidence-Based Programs and Practices initiative (ADEPP) was to help the public learn more about available evidence-based programs and practices in the areas of aging and disability and determine which of these may best meet their needs. ADEPP was a voluntary process in which intervention developers elected to participate to have their programs assessed, and these assessments took place through 2015.

Center on Knowledge Translation for Disability and Rehabilitation Research

American Institutes for Research

Link: http://ktdrr.org

Brief description:The purpose of the Center on Knowledge Translation for Disability and Rehabilitation Research (KTDRR) is to make it easier to find, understand, and use the results of research that can make a positive impact on the lives of people with disabilities. In collaboration with several national and international partners, the Center on KTDRR carries out integrated training, dissemination, utilization, and technical assistance activities to (a.) increase use of valid and relevant evidence-based research findings that inform decision-making and (b.) increase the understanding and application of knowledge translation principles.

McMaster Optimal Aging Portal

McMaster University (Canada)

Link: https://www.mcmasteroptimalaging.org

Brief description: The Portal offers direct and easy access to evidence-based information about how to stay healthy, active and engaged, and how to manage our health conditions, as we grow older. The Portal aims to be a trusted voice on optimal aging for citizens, clinicians, public health professionals and policymakers.

Behavioral health

Best Practice Portal Evidence Database

European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction

Link: http://www.emcdda.europa.eu/best-practice/evidence-summaries

Brief description: This database gives you access to the latest evidence on drug-related interventions. The information is based on systematic searches and is updated regularly.

Curated Library about Opioid Use for Decision-makers (CLOUD)

The Center for Evidence-based Policy at Oregon Health and Science University

Link: https://www.opioidlibrary.org

Brief description: CLOUD: Your source for curated, actionable, evidence-based resources on opioids and the opioid crisis in the United States.

Effective Child Therapy

Society of Clinical Child and Adolescent Psychology; American Psychological Association

Link: https://effectivechildtherapy.org/therapies

Brief description: Many of the behavioral problems or mental health symptoms that can keep children and adolescents from leading happy, successful lives can be effectively treated with evidence-based therapies. With these treatments, psychologists and other mental health providers help parents and children learn how to work and live better with others, and to build the skills and habits that help them succeed in school and in life. Not all mental health therapies for young people are effective, and some treatment options do not work the same for all behavioral and mental health disorders.

Evidence-Based Practices Resource Center

Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration; U.S. Department of Health and Human Services

Link: https://www.samhsa.gov/ebp-resource-center

Brief description: This new Evidence-Based Practices Resource Center aims to provide communities, clinicians, policy-makers and others in the field with the information and tools they need to incorporate evidence-based practices into their communities or clinical settings. The Resource Center contains a collection of scientifically-based resources for a broad range of audiences, including treatment improvement protocols, toolkits, resource guides, clinical practice guidelines, and other science-based resources.

Suicide Prevention Resource Center

Education Development Center

Link: http://www.sprc.org/resources-programs

Brief description: This searchable repository provides information on several types of suicide prevention programs, such as education/training, screening, treatment, and environmental change.

Child, youth, and family well-being

Clearinghouse for Military Family Readiness

Pennsylvania State University

Link: https://www.continuum.militaryfamilies.psu.edu

Brief description: The Clearinghouse serves as a resource for professionals who work with military individuals and families by providing its Continuum of Evidence (Continuum). The Continuum is a repository of programs that have been reviewed by Clearinghouse research and evaluation scientists. Programs are placed on the Continuum with descriptions to help individuals who serve military families make informed decisions regarding how to best serve these unique and valuable families.

Early Intervention Foundation Guidebook

Early Intervention Foundation

Link: https://guidebook.eif.org.uk

Brief description: The EIF Guidebook provides information about early intervention programmes that have been evaluated and shown to improve outcomes for children and young people. Through a rigorous assessment process, EIF has rated the strength of evidence for a programme’s impact and its relative costs. The Guidebook also provides a wealth of information about the specific outcomes a programme has been shown to improve, how the programme works, how it is delivered, and the conditions or resources that can make a programme more likely to be effective.

Home Visiting Evidence of Effectiveness

Administration for Children and Families; U.S. Department of Health and Human Services

Link: https://homvee.acf.hhs.gov

Brief description: The Department of Health and Human Services launched the Home Visiting Evidence of Effectiveness (HomVEE) review to conduct a thorough and transparent review of the home visiting research literature. HomVEE provides an assessment of the evidence of effectiveness for home visiting models that target families with pregnant women and children from birth to kindergarten entry (that is, up through age 5).

Proven and Promising Responsible Fatherhood and Family Strengthening Initiatives—Evidence Review, 2010-2013*

Office of Planning, Research and Evaluation—Administration for Children and Families; U.S. Department of Health and Human Services

Link: https://www.acf.hhs.gov/opre/research/project/proven-and-promising-responsible-fatherhood-and-family-strengthening

Brief description: The purpose of this task order, awarded to Mathematica Policy Research, Inc., was to conduct a systematic evidence review by identifying and cataloging studies of programs serving low-income fathers and those serving couples and rating the quality of the evidence. The review also cataloged descriptive and implementation studies of such programs.

Promise Neighborhoods Research Consortium’s What Works

National Institute on Drug Abuse; National Institutes of Health

Link: http://promiseneighborhoods.org/what-works.html

Brief description: Research shows that it is possible for neighborhoods and communities to help every young person become a successful, productive, and caring adult. Our team of more than 30 scientists has summarized what works to help every young person succeed. 

Title IV-E Prevention Services Clearinghouse

Administration for Children and Families; U.S. Department of Health and Human Services

Link: https://preventionservices.abtsites.com

Brief description: The Title IV-E Prevention Services Clearinghouse was established by the Administration for Children and Families (ACF) within the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to conduct an objective and transparent review of research on programs and services intended to provide enhanced support to children and families and prevent foster care placements. The Clearinghouse reviews evidence on mental health, substance abuse prevention and treatment, and in-home parent skill-based programs and services, as well as kinship navigator programs.

YouthPower—What Works

U.S. Agency for International Development

Link: https://www.youthpower.org/what-works

Brief description: YouthPower uses a positive youth development approach to implement programs within and across sectors. YouthPower seeks to improve the capacity of youth-led and youth-serving institutions and engage young people, their families and communities so that youth can reach their full potential. Evidence is of critical importance in any youth implementation project and policy development. This section looks at different sectors and topics and presents available evidence as to ‘what works’.

Criminal and juvenile justice

Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention’s Model Programs Guide2

Office of Justice Programs U.S. Department of Justice

Link: https://www.ojjdp.gov/mpg

Brief description: The Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention’s (OJJDP’s) Model Programs Guide (MPG) contains information about evidence-based juvenile justice and youth prevention, intervention, and reentry programs. It is a resource for practitioners and communities about what works, what is promising, and what does not work in juvenile justice, delinquency prevention, and child protection and safety.

What Works Centre for Crime Reduction

College of Policing

Link: https://whatworks.college.police.uk/About/Pages/default.aspx

Brief description: The What Works Centre for Crime Reduction produces and collates research evidence on crime reduction and supports its use in practice.

What Works in Policing?

Center for Evidence-Based Crime Policy; George Mason University

Link: https://cebcp.org/evidence-based-policing/what-works-in-policing

Brief description: What should police be doing (or not be doing) to best address crime and disorder? What will increase public satisfaction and enhance perceptions of police legitimacy? These are important questions for researchers, practitioners, and policy makers to consider. These questions have been the subject of many policies, research evaluations, and pilot programs. Still the larger question remains: what really works effectively when it comes to policing? The Center for Evidence-Based Crime Policy at George Mason University in collaboration with the School of Criminology and Criminal Justice at Arizona State University and the City of Seattle, at the request of the Office of City Auditor, have undertaken a review of the current literature in the field.

What Works in Reentry Clearinghouse3

Council of State Governments Justice Center

Link: https://whatworks.csgjusticecenter.org

Brief description: Welcome to the What Works in Reentry Clearinghouse, a “one-stop shop” for research on the effectiveness of a wide variety of reentry programs and practices.

Youth.gov Program Directory4

Interagency Working Group on Youth Programs

Link: https://youth.gov/evidence-innovation/program-directory

Brief description: The youth.gov Program Directory features evidence-based programs whose purpose is to prevent and/or reduce delinquency or other problem behaviors in young people.

Economy, environment, and transportation

Campbell Collaboration

Link: https://campbellcollaboration.org

Brief description: The Campbell Collaboration promotes positive social and economic change through the production and use of systematic reviews and other evidence synthesis for evidence-based policy and practice.

Library of Evidence Syntheses

Collaboration for Environmental Evidence (CEE)

Link: http://www.environmentalevidence.org/completed-reviews

Brief description: CEE seeks to promote and deliver evidence syntheses on issues of greatest concern to environmental policy and practice as a public service....CEE Evidence Syntheses take the form of systematic reviews and (evidence) maps providing rigorous and transparent methodology to assess the impacts of human activity and effectiveness of policy and management interventions. This website contains a fast-growing Library of Environmental Evidence.

Corporation for National and Community Service’s (CNCS) Evidence Exchange

AmeriCorps and Senior Corps

Link: https://www.nationalservice.gov/impact-our-nation/evidence-exchange

Brief description: Welcome to the CNCS Evidence Exchange, a digital repository of research, evaluation reports, and data. These resources focus on national service, social innovation, civic engagement, and volunteering. The types of evidence included in the repository range from impact and implementation evaluations to outcomes reports and case studies. We believe it is through learning from available evidence that we all can not only improve lives, strengthen communities, and foster civic engagement, but do better each and every day.

Evidence Collections

Evidence Aid

Link: https://www.evidenceaid.org/evidence-collections

Brief description: Evidence Aid was established as a charity in 2015. It uses knowledge from systematic reviews to provide reliable, up-to-date evidence on interventions that might be considered in the context of natural disasters and other major healthcare emergencies. Evidence Aid seeks to highlight which interventions work, which don’t work, which need more research, and which, no matter how well meaning, might be harmful; and to provide this information to agencies and people planning for, or responding to, disasters.

Streetsmart: Evidence and Insight for Better Transportation

Link: http://thinkstreetsmart.org

Brief description: Streetsmart, an incorporated nonprofit organization, gives you the evidence and insight you need to prioritize, defend, and decide what transportation solutions work best in your community. Our proof-of-concept prototype is ready for your feedback. We’re building partnerships and pursuing research projects to build the beta version of Streetsmart.

What Works Centre for Local Economic Growth

Arup and Centre for Cities; The London School of Economics and Political Science

Link: http://www.whatworksgrowth.org/policy-reviews

Brief description: The Centre’s evidence reviews currently cover ten policy areas affecting local economic growth—from business support to employment training and innovation. The evidence reviews analysed and sifted through thousands of existing policy evaluations to unearth the most useful for understanding what really works in the different policy areas. As well as highlighting what the evidence showed about impact, we have picked out a range of case studies which represent particularly useful evaluation techniques. These can be copied by practitioners as they plan their own policy evaluations.

Education (pre-K through grade 12)

Best Evidence Encyclopedia

Center for Data-Driven Reform in Education; Johns Hopkins University

Link: http://www.bestevidence.org/index.cfm

Brief description: The Best Evidence Encyclopedia is a free web site created by the Johns Hopkins University School of Education’s Center for Data-Driven Reform in Education (CDDRE) under funding from the Institute of Education Sciences, U.S. Department of Education. It is intended to give educators and researchers fair and useful information about the strength of the evidence supporting a variety of programs available for students in grades K-12. The Best Evidence Encyclopedia provides summaries of scientific reviews produced by many authors and organizations, as well as links to the full texts of each review. The summaries are written by CDDRE staff members and sent to review authors for confirmation.

Evidence for the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA)

Center for Research and Reform in Education; Johns Hopkins University

Link: https://www.evidenceforessa.org/

Brief description: Our goal is to provide clear and authoritative information on programs that meet the ESSA evidence standards and enable educators and communities to select effective educational tools to improve student success.

National Dropout Prevention Center

Successful Practices Network

Link: http://dropoutprevention.org

Brief description: The National Dropout Prevention Center (NDPC) began in 1986 to serve as a clearinghouse on issues related to dropout prevention and to offer strategies designed to increase the graduation rate in America’s schools. Over the years, the NDPC has become a well-established national resource for sharing solutions for student success. It does so through its clearinghouse function, active research and evaluation projects, publications, and through a variety of professional development activities. In addition, the NDPC conducts a variety of third-party evaluations and program assessment and reviews (PAR).

Collaborative for Academic, Social, and Emotional Learning

Link: https://casel.org

Brief description: The Collaborative for Academic, Social, and Emotional Learning (CASEL) is a trusted source for knowledge about high-quality, evidence-based social and emotional learning (SEL). CASEL supports educators and policy leaders and enhances the experiences and outcomes for all PreK-12 students.

What Works Centre for Education

Educational Endowment Foundation (EEF)

Link: https://educationendowmentfoundation.org.uk/school-themes/

Brief description: The Big Picture pulls together evidence from the Teaching and Learning Toolkit and EEF-funded projects which have been independently evaluated, focusing on 14 high priority issues. or themes, for schools. The themes provide greater depth to the evidence on common school challenges by linking together evidence in the Toolkit with key messages emerging from EEF-funded projects, and other resources. Taken together, they provide a rich picture of the developing evidence base on how to improve the attainment and wider outcomes of children and young people.

Health and health care

Innovations Exchange

Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality; U.S. Department of Health and Human Services

Link: https://innovations.ahrq.gov

Brief description: The U.S. Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) created the Health Care Innovations Exchange to speed the implementation of new and better ways of delivering health care. The Innovations Exchange supports the Agency’s mission to produce evidence to make health care safer, higher quality, more accessible, equitable, and affordable, and to work with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and other partners to make sure that the evidence is understood and used. The Innovations Exchange offers busy health professionals and researchers the opportunity to share, learn about, and ultimately adopt evidence-based innovations and tools suitable for a range of health care settings and populations.

Canadian Best Practices Portal

Public Health Agency of Canada

Link: https://cbpp-pcpe.phac-aspc.gc.ca/interventions/search-interventions/

Brief description: The Best Practices Section of the Portal is a searchable list of chronic disease prevention and health promotion interventions which provides program planners and public health practitioners with easy and immediate access to successful public health programs, interventions and policies that have been evaluated and have the potential to be adapted and used.

Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews

Link: https://www.cochranelibrary.com/cdsr/reviews

Brief description: The Cochrane Library (ISSN 1465-1858) is a collection of databases that contain different types of high-quality, independent evidence to inform healthcare decision-making. The Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews (CDSR) is the leading resource for systematic reviews in health care.

The Guide to Community Preventive Services (Community Guide)

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention; U.S. Department of Health and Human Services

Link: https://www.thecommunityguide.org

Brief description:The Guide to Community Preventive Services (The Community Guide) is a collection of evidence-based findings of the Community Preventive Services Task Force (CPSTF). It is a resource to help you select interventions to improve health and prevent disease in your state, community, community organization, business, healthcare organization, or school.

Promising Practices Database

Conduent Healthy Communities Institute

Link: http://cdc.thehcn.net/index.php?module=promisepractice&controller=index&action=index

Brief description: The Promising Practices database informs professionals and community members about documented approaches to improving community health and quality of life. The ultimate goal is to support the systematic adoption, implementation, and evaluation of successful programs, practices, and policy changes. The database provides carefully reviewed, documented, and ranked practices that range from good ideas to evidence-based practices.

Epistemonikos

Link: https://www.epistemonikos.org/en/

Brief description: Epistemonikos is a collaborative, multilingual database of health evidence. It is the largest source of systematic reviews relevant for health-decision making, and a large source of other types of scientific evidence.

Healthy People 2020 Evidence-Based Resources Database

Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion; U.S. Department of Health and Human Services

Link: https://www.healthypeople.gov/2020/tools-resources/Evidence-Based-Resources

Brief description: Healthy People provides science-based, 10-year national objectives for improving the health of all Americans. Search our Evidence-Based Resources database to find interventions and resources to improve the health of your community.

HIV/AIDS Prevention Research Synthesis (PRS) Project

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention; U.S. Department of Health and Human Services

Link: https://www.cdc.gov/hiv/dhap/prb/prs

Brief description:The HIV/AIDS Prevention Research Synthesis (PRS) Project identifies evidence-based interventions (EBIs) and best practices to help HIV prevention planners and providers in the United States select interventions most appropriate for HIV prevention within their communities. These are listed in the Compendium of Evidence-Based Interventions and Best Practices for HIV Prevention, a.k.a the ‘Compendium.’

National Elf Service

Minervation Ltd.

Link: https://www.nationalelfservice.net/evidence-based-practice

Brief description:The National Elf Service is owned and managed by Minervation Ltd; an Oxford University spin-out company founded by information scientists Douglas Badenoch and André Tomlin, who have been building evidence-based healthcare websites since the early 1990s. Douglas and André share a vision for making evidence-based research more accessible and usable for busy health and social care professionals.

National Institute for Health and Care Excellence

Link: https://www.evidence.nhs.uk/

Brief description: Make better, quicker, evidence based decisions. Evidence search provides access to selected and authoritative evidence in health, social care and public health.

Homelessness, jobs, and poverty

Abdul Latif Jameel Poverty Action Lab

Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Link: https://www.povertyactionlab.org

Brief description: The Abdul Latif Jameel Poverty Action Lab (J-PAL) is a global research center working to reduce poverty by ensuring that policy is informed by scientific evidence. Anchored by a network of 171 affiliated professors at universities around the world, J-PAL conducts randomized impact evaluations to answer critical questions in the fight against poverty.

Center for Evidence-based Solutions to Homelessness

National Alliance to End Homelessness

Link: http://www.evidenceonhomelessness.com

Brief description: The Center for Evidence-based Solutions to Homelessness is dedicated to ending and preventing homelessness by connecting research to practice. Our mission is to empower communities to plan and implement services for people experiencing homelessness on the basis of the strongest available evidence.

Clearinghouse for Labor Evaluation and Research (CLEAR)

U.S. Department of Labor

Link: https://clear.dol.gov

Brief description: CLEAR’s mission is to make research on labor topics more accessible to practitioners, policymakers, researchers, and the public more broadly so that it can inform their decisions about labor policies and programs. CLEAR identifies and summarizes many types of research, including descriptive, implementation, and impact studies. In addition, CLEAR assesses the quality of research that looks at the effectiveness of particular policies and programs.

Employment Strategies for Low-Income Adults Evidence Review

Administration for Children and Families; U.S. Department of Health and Human Services

Link: https://employmentstrategies.acf.hhs.gov

Brief description: This review provides practitioners, policymakers, researchers, and the public with a transparent, systematic assessment of the quality of research evidence supporting approaches to improve the employment-related outcomes of low-income individuals.

Pathways to Work Evidence Clearinghouse

Administration for Children and Families; U.S. Department of Health and Human Services

Link: https://pathwaystowork.acf.hhs.gov/

Brief description: To provide reliable accessible information about what works to help low-income job seekers find and keep gainful employment, the Office of Planning, Research, & Evaluation (OPRE) at the Administration for Children and Families (ACF) launched the Pathways to Work Evidence Clearinghouse (originally known as the What Works Clearinghouse of Proven and Promising Approaches to Move Welfare Recipients to Work). The Pathways Clearinghouse identifies interventions that aim to improve employment outcomes, reduce employment challenges, and support self-sufficiency for low-income populations, especially Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) and other public program recipients. The Pathways Clearinghouse systematically evaluates and summarizes the evidence of their effectiveness.

Self-Sufficiency Research Clearinghouse

Office of Planning, Research and Evaluation, Administration for Children and Families; U.S. Department of Health and Human Services

Link: https://www.opressrc.org

Brief description:The Self-Sufficiency Research Clearinghouse (SSRC) is an ever growing virtual portal of research on low-income and TANF families and an online hub for professional networking among researchers, policymakers and practitioners who serve these populations. The SSRC aims to improve policy and practice in such areas as employment, education and training, and family self-sufficiency by improving access to field-tested, evidence-informed and evidence-based program strategies and high-quality research and by fostering professional connectivity among its targeted audiences. 

Endnotes

  1. The nine clearinghouses included in the Results First Clearinghouse Database are: Blueprints for Healthy Youth Development, California Evidence-Based Clearinghouse for Child Welfare, the Laura and John Arnold Foundation’s Social Programs That Work, the U.S. Department of Education’s What Works Clearinghouse, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Research-Tested Intervention Programs, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Teen Pregnancy Prevention Evidence Review, the U.S. Department of Justice’s CrimeSolutions.gov, the U.S. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration’s National Registry of Evidence-Based Programs and Practices, and the University of Wisconsin Population Health Institute and Robert Wood Johnson Foundation’s County Health Rankings and Roadmaps: What Works for Health.
  2. This information in this resource originates from CrimeSolutions.gov, which is part of the Results First Clearinghouse Database.
  3. The information in this resource originates from CrimeSolutions.gov, which is part of the Results First Clearinghouse Database.
  4. The information in this resource originates from CrimeSolutions.gov, which is part of the Results First Clearinghouse Database.

States of Innovation

Data Visualization

Results First Clearinghouse Database

Quick View
Data Visualization

To assist policymakers at all levels of government in identifying evidence-based programs and making data-driven budget decisions, the project has created the Results First Clearinghouse Database. This one-stop online resource provides policymakers with an easy way to find information on the effectiveness of various interventions as rated by eight national research clearinghouses.