As a nation, we owe it to all citizens to invest our resources in the most effective solutions to the social problems we face. But the challenges involved in measuring effective programs, and the absence of a “marketplace” for such information present real barriers to advancing our reliance on programs that work.
Identifying the most effective solutions to social problems—whether in education, health, or housing—isn’t easy. Few interventions have been rigorously evaluated. Fewer are proven to have positive results. In fact, most evaluations show mixed results. Therefore, determining whether an intervention works is not black and white.
As knowledge about what works grows, what’s missing is a developed marketplace where policy makers, funders, and practitioners can turn for the latest information about what works and what doesn’t. They need that information not just to make the best choices, but to learn where more innovation and evaluation is needed most.
To better understand the current state of this marketplace for evidence and what needs to be done to strengthen it, Results for America, in consultation with The Pew-MacArthur Results First Initiative (Results First), commissioned The Bridgespan Group to conduct a study. The result is The What Works Marketplace: Helping Leaders to Use Evidence to Make Smarter Choices.
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Follow the links below to download individual sections of The What Works Marketplace: Helping Leaders Use Evidence to Make Smarter Choices.
- Key findings
- Moving forward
- A marketplace focused on learning and continuous improvement
- Defining a common language
- Many steps
- Many players
- Many clearinghouses
- Several different types of users
- A variety of needs for different users, but some key consistencies
- A growing market heading in the right direction
- Six gaps that remain in the market
- Gap 1: Comprehensiveness
- Gap 2: Implementation
- Gap 3: Guidance
- Gap 4: Synthesis
- Gap 5: Usability
- Gap 6: Awareness
- Increase the number of studies on interventions available
- Increase the amount of information on interventions available
- Increase the types of reviews available, not only reviews of single interventions
- Increase awareness of sources for evidence on effectiveness, particularly through existing networks
- Reduce barriers to use of clearinghouses
- Guide decision makers through the selection process
- Establish common standards
- Increase coordination among suppliers
- Build a vibrant adviser market
- Appendix 1: List of organizations interviewed
- Appendix 2: Current efforts to develop and inform a common evidence framework
- Appendix 3: Landscape of clearinghouses
- Appendix 4: Web analytics for information sources
- Appendix 5: US-focused clearinghouses by domain
- Appendix 6: Comprehensiveness of clearinghouses
- Appendix 7: Intervention-specific information captured systematically on clearinghouses