Blog Post

Better Evidence for Decision-Makers: Emerging Pathways from Existing Knowledge

By Staff from David P. Weikart Center for Youth Program Quality

“There is broad consensus in favor of using evidence in order to solve critical social problems. Most notably, there has been a widespread effort to determine which individual programs can demonstrate strong evidence of impact. In our view, this is a useful beginning to what ought to be a much larger enterprise aimed at achieving significant results at scale. In this paper we seek to broaden the discussion.”

The Center for the Study of Social Policy (CSSP) recently published an article titled, Better Evidence for Decision-Makers: Emerging Pathways from Existing Knowledge.

This report discusses the importance of using the evidence base efficiently and thoroughly while also recognizing the many questions that surround how to actually do this and do this well. This report delves into such logistics and highlights the following themes:


View the full report here.

  • Evidence that Goes Beyond Evidence about Individual Programs
  • Implications of this Research: Developing a Richer Knowledge Base
  • Recommendations

CSSP discusses how to Distill Common Practice Elements of Effective Children’s Mental Health Services as well as Using Meta-Analysis to Identify Characteristics of Effective Juvenile Justice Services.

CSSP also highlights Developing Practice Standards to Enhance Quality in Social and Emotional Learning Programs in this piece and references the work of the SEL Challenge and the approach of David P. Weikart Center for Youth Program Quality.

CSSP states, “By contrast, the approach described here explicitly required an effort to develop strong theory: theory about how youth develop skills; how specific aspects of context support skill development; and how organizational systems promote use of SEL practices.”

CSSP continues to discuss Expanding the Frame, A Wider Range of Options and how to pay Greater Attention to Implementation. This report raises recommendations on both a policy and practical level as well.

For more information on the evidence base work and this report visit the Center for the Study of Social Policy website here.

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