Best Practice Websites Database
There are many sector-specific collections of best practices on the internet. Those described on this page lists were compiled as background research for the Best Practices in Public Management project by Anna Hodgins, MPP2014, completed in February, 2013. The links were updated by Ian Clark in December 2015.
BEST PRACTICES IN EDUCATIONAL FACILITIES INVESTMENTS
The Best Practices in Educational Facilities Investments database is a joint project of the OECD Centre for Effective Learning Environments (CELE) and the European Investment Bank (EIB). The database is meant to be an international resource for educators, designers, policymakers and researchers alike. The database contains information on over 60 exemplary school and university facilities around the world. The information is intended to inform the planning, design, construction, management and evaluation of educational spaces as well as strategies for combining resources for investment in educational infrastructure. The projects are conducted by either CELE or EIB. Database users can add their own resource material or submit new projects to be published on the database.
PROMISING PRACTICES NETWORK on CHILDREN, FAMILIES, and COMMUNITIES
The Promising Practices Network on Children, Families and Communities provides credible research-based information on what works to improve the lives of children and families under a “best practices” or “model program” model. Under the “Programs that Work” section, the website provides summaries of effective programs. All information reviewed and posted on the site under the “programs that work” section is analyzed under a high standard of scientific credibility, objectivity and clarity. Programs are considered for inclusion based on evidence of a “positive effect” as proven by publicly available information. Programs are offered, “proven” or “promising” ratings based on to what extent they meet outcomes, the size of the effect, the statistical significance of the effect, the strength of the comparison group, the sample size, and the program evaluation documentation available.
PUBLIC HEALTH AGENCY OF CANADA: CANADIAN BEST PRACTICES PORTAL
The Public Health Agency of Canada’s Best Practices Portal provides resources and solutions to planning programs for promoting health and preventing diseases in communities. The database consolidates multiple sources of trusted and credible information allowing health professionals and decision makers to access published information on proven best practices for chronic diseases and conditions, health promotion, behaviour-related risks, strategies, populations, determinants of health and innovative practices, as well as evaluation design. According to the website, best practices are interventions, programs/services, strategies or policies which have demonstrated desired changes through the use of appropriate well documented research or evaluation methodologies. The identified best practices can be replicated, adapted or transferred most suitably to the situation given available evidence and context.
THE GUIDE TO COMMUNITY PREVENTATIVE SERVICES: The Community Guide, What Works to Promote Health
The Guide to Community Preventatives Services provides evidence-based recommendations and findings of the Community Preventative Services Task Force covering health topics that includes types of interventions for behaviour change, disease prevention and environmental change. The Task Force conducts systematic reviews of scientific studies on public health topics to determine whether the program has shown to be effective. The database is meant to assist decision makers in selecting effective interventions that make the best use of scarce resources by determining what interventions promote good health behaviour, which population benefit or are harmed from the interventions, which interventions are cost-effective, and what gaps there are in the research for certain interventions. The Community Guide compiles Task Force reviews, findings and recommendations, categorized as recommended, recommended against, or insufficient evidence.
NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF COUNTY AND CITY HEALTH OFFICIALS: NACCHO MODEL PRACTICE SEARCH
The National Association of County and City Health Officials (NACCHO) Model Practice website provides access to promising or model practices for health interventions of a variety of types. Members can access information in full detail. The public can access information on program overview, responsiveness, agency and community roles, costs and expenditures, implementation, sustainability, outcomes process evaluation, lessons learned and key elements replicated. Each intervention is labeled as either a promising practice or a model practice. The database is intended for policymakers, representing a national voice for local health departments.
THE NATIONAL SERVICE KNOWLEDGE NETWORK, CORPORATION FOR NATIONAL AND COMMUNITY SERVICE
The National Service Knowledge Network by the Corporation for National and Community Service offers a collection of effective practices that includes good ideas, proven practices, and findings from evidence-based studies that can enable improved program success in the areas of education, environment, public safety, human needs, service learning, and program management. The network promotes information sharing among national service programs. Effective practices are defined as actions or series of actions by a grantee, program staff, national service participant, or technical assistance provider that helps to solve a common problem in the national or community services that leads to a positive outcome. The action can be a tool, technique or step-by-step procedure that can be replicated or adapted to other communities. To be included in the database, the technique must have been implemented by one or more program and be identified in research or a study.
CHILD TRENDS LINKS DATABASE: Research to Improve Children’s Lives
The Child Trends Lifecourse Interventions to Nurture Kids Successfully (LINKS) database summarizes evaluations of out-of-school time programs that are effective or ineffective at enhancing children’s development. The database is for use by policy makers and program providers and funders. Users can submit evaluations based on eligibility criteria. The interventions must have been evaluated by a well-conducted quantitative study and be published in English. Results must have at least 50% response rate to be included. Information about the program details, the cost or cost-effectiveness (if available), the effect size and training information are provided for the programs that are included in the database.
WHAT WORKS FOR HEALTH: POLICIES AND PROGRAMS TO IMPROVE WISCONSIN’S HEALTH
The What Works for Health database is a compilation of policies and programs to improve Wisconsin’s health. The database provides information on the evidence of effectiveness, the population reach, the impact on health disparity, and implementation. Evidence of effectiveness if defined as grounded in science. The database acknowledges that there are many policies and programs that have been evaluated and are considered effective but have not been studied in a scientific context. Using the best available evidence, the database rates a policy or program’s effectiveness in terms of the strength of evidence, population reach and the likely impact on health disparities. The strategies are rated as: scientifically supported, some evidence, insufficient evidence, mixed evidence, and evidence of ineffectiveness. The database encourages users to consult local data and local context to ensure the program will be effective in the community at hand.
EUROPEAN COMMISSION: ENTERPRISE AND INDUSTRY – SMALL BUSINESS ACT – DATABASE OF GOOD PRACTICES
The European Commission Database of Good Practices for Enterprise and Industry contains activities by public authority in European Union Member states that are recognized as good practices to improve the business environment of Small and Medium Enterprises in accordance with the Small Business Act. The aim of the database is to encourage member states to learn from each other and take up measures that have been effective elsewhere. The activities are evaluated based on their ability to address priorities of the Small Business Act. Activities include policies, projects, instruments, or other measures by public authorities at national, regional, or local levels of management. To be considered good practice, the activities must have tangible results, be transferable and clearly outperform other practices in terms of effectiveness or efficiency or improve the situation for Small and Medium enterprises substantially. The strategies, according to the Commission, are original with a communication strategy with an evaluation plan based on measureable and pre-determined targets.
EUROCHAMBRES BEST PRACTICES DATABASE
The EuroChambres Best Practices Database collects success stories in the field of internationalization of European Small and Medium Enterprises in different European countries and industries. EuroChambres aims to facilitate communication and exchange of experiences, information, and best practices within the network of Chambers of Commerce while offering services and tools for the association and its members.
THE OFFICE OF HEALTH, SAFETY, AND SECURITY: POLLUTION PREVENTION BEST PRACTICES DATABASE
The United States Office of Health, Safety and Security’s Pollution Prevention Best Practices database contains information about projects to prevent pollution to be used by the Department of Energy. The Office of Environmental Policy and Assistance evaluates pollution prevention projects from across the Department of Energy and reviewing information about projects conducted by other federal agencies in order to disseminate information on effective methods of reducing waste based on past experiences. There is no provided definition of best practices available on the site.
INTERNATIONAL STORMWATER BEST MANAGEMENT PRACTICES DATABASE
The International Storm Water Best Management Practices Database provides access to over 500 studies, performance analysis results and tools for use in the Best Management Practices. The aim of the project is to provide scientifically sound information to improve the design, selection and performance of best management practices for storm water. The database is downloadable to any individual or organization wishing to conduct its own assessments of management practices. Historically, there are a wide variety of measures to evaluate best management practices so there is a wide variation in reported best management practices effectives . As a result, the team has developed an approach that accounts for the statistical characteristics in stormwater data collection.
ADVANCE AFRICA: BEST PRACTICES COMPENDIUM
Advance Africa is an online database of best practices in Reproductive Health and Family Planning service delivery geared to program deliverers. The database includes practices used by program managers that have proven to be successful or that have identified gaps, needs, and opportunities in their programs. Users can search the database by keyword or topic, identify program models that can be adopted to meet their specific needs and review lessons learned from other practices. The unique component of this compendium is that it includes both successful programs and promising programs that need to be improved upon. According to the website, a best practice is defined as an “action or set of actions exhibiting quantitative and qualitative evidence of success together with the ability to be replicated and the potential to be adopted and transferred.” It is a “gold standard” of activities and tools that can be implemented to support program objectives. There is a set of standardized criteria that are used to evaluate programs included in the database.
MOST (MANAGEMENT OF SOCIAL TRANSFORMATION) CLEARING HOUSE
The MOST Clearing House provides access to successful projects related to poverty and social exclusion based on the idea that carefully documented case histories can provide guidelines for policy making and new projects. The goal is to present and promote creative, successful, and sustainable solutions to social problems arising from poverty and social exclusion, bridging the gap between empirical solutions, research and policy. The database includes model projects or policies that improve the quality of life of individuals suffering from poverty or social exclusion based on cooperation between national or local authorities, NGOs and local communities, the private sector and academic communities. Best practices are innovative, demonstrate positive change and impact, be sustainable and have the potential to be replicated. All programs and policies included in the database are evaluated based on these criteria. The database can be searched by keyword.
Knowledge4health aims to improve access to and sharing of evidence-based public health knowledge in relation to family planning and reproductive health and issues that are related. The database provides access to a set of approaches from knowledge management perspectives that value and support generating, capturing, organizing and adapting knowledge and making it accessible and usable in different formats for different people. Users can search by keyword, document type, and topic. There is no explanation of criteria requirements.
PEACEKEEPING RESOURCE HUB
The Peacekeeping Resource Hub provides access to best practices in policy and services that assist in the planning, conduct, management and support of peacekeeping operations by learning from experience, problem solving and transferring best practices in United Nations (UN) peacekeeping. The goal is to develop and support a culture of best practices in UN peacekeeping by helping to establish and develop the mechanisms and working habits of the initiatives and to share knowledge. The database includes knowledge management, policy analysis and development and lessons learned.
PROMISING PRACTICES IN AFTERSCHOOL DATABASE
Promising Practices in Afterschool is a database of resources for effective afterschool practices. Both newly developed and long-lasting programs with evidence to prove effectiveness are included in the database. The programs are evaluated based on the principles of innovation and effectiveness. Promising practices can be searched by key word, component, theme, state, or promising and “aha” practices. Members have more access to information than non-members.
BRYCS: BRIDGING REFUGEE YOUTH AND CHILDREN’S SERVICES
Bridging Refugee Youth and Children’s Services (BRYCS) is the Office of Refugee Resettlement’s National technical assistance provider on refugee child welfare in the United States. The BRYCS database of promising practices is meant to assist refugee resettlement service providers in child welfare agencies, schools and ethnic community based organizations. Users can search by topic, state, keyword, and specific program characteristics. There are more than 100 programs in the database. Each program includes the program provider’s contact information. As well, program descriptions include information on the program, funding, staff requirements, evaluation and outcomes. Promising practices are defined as programs that are considered “successful” by other service providers, federal and state funders of services, and/or experts in the field. The practices must be based on principles from current research on risk and protective factors for refugee and immigrant children and youth. The practices must be results oriented, demonstrating how immigrant children and youth benefitted from the programs.
CHILDREN’S SAFETY NETWORK
The Children’s Safety Network’s promising practices in maternal and child health (MCH) database is a searchable collection of emerging and promising health plan programs from across the United States. The database allows users to learn more about MCH activities and priorities of health plans. It aims to facilitate program replication and foster collaboration between health plans and other maternal and child health stakeholders, especially those working in communities and the public sector. The database allows users to learn more about MCH activities and priorities by discovering innovative programs amongst projects funded by the Health Resources and Services Administration’s MCH Bureau. The database is updated quarterly with new MCH activities and collaboration submitted to NIHCMs Promising Practices in MCH programming.
ONTARIO REGULATORS FOR ACCESS CONSORTIUM
The Ontario Regulators for Access Consortium has a compendium of promising practices for Ontario regulators. Promising practices are considered innovative and must have proven to improve, or have the potential to improve, access for international candidates to regulated professional bodies in Ontario. The database provides information on programs describing what regulators are doing to improve access for internationally educated professionals and to measure progress. Programs that can be adapted and used by other regulatory bodies to improve practices in information and support to international candidates, assessment practices, post-assessment practices, and maintaining and reporting statistics. Users can search promising practices by category. Promising Practice standards were drawn from literature review and information provided by Ontario regulators through surveys and interviews. Practice descriptions include the development of the practices, their impacts and the challenges.
ASSOCIATION OF MATERNAL AND CHILD HEALTH PROGRAMS: INNOVATION STATION
The Association of Maternal and Child Health (MCH) Program’s Innovation Station is a forum for sharing emerging, promising and best practices in MCH in the United States. The database is searchable by keyword, state, region, category, topic, national performance measure and year. Information on how to use the database is available on the website. An emerging practice incorporates philosophy, values, characteristics and indicators of other positive/effective public health interventions that are based on guidelines, protocols, standards of preferred practice patterns that have been proven to lead to effective public health outcomes. Emerging practices incorporate quality improvement and evaluation plans, but data demonstrating effectiveness is not yet available. A promising practice, in addition to the emerging practice characteristics, has strong quantitative or qualitative data showing positive outcomes but has not yet been replicated to support the generalizability of the practice. Best practices emerge following rigorous peer review and evaluation indicating that the program is linked with the positive outcomes, is effective and produces positive outcomes in many settings.
OUT-OF-SCHOOL TIME PROGRAM RESEARCH AND EVALUATION DATABASE AND BIBLIOGRAPHY: HARVARD FAMILY RESEARCH PROJECT
The Out-Of-School (OST) Time Program Research and Evaluation Database is a compilation of profiles of research studies and evaluations of OST programs and initiatives written by the Harvard Family Research Project. It provides accessible information about research and evaluation work on both large and small OST programs, supporting the development of high quality evaluations and programs in the field. Each profile contains an overview of the OST time program or initiatives that was evaluated and detailed information about research reports written about each program.
STRATEGIC ALLIANCE: PROMOTING HEALTH FOOD AND ACTIVITY ENVIRONMENTS
The Strategic Alliance’s database provides users with access to promising food and activity related policies. The database highlights promising policy activities that are occurring at the local level and facilitates networking among local policymakers and advocates. Users can search the database by keyword and refine the search by topic, state, year, jurisdiction, keyword and environment.
THE NATIONAL CAMPAIGN TO PREVENT TEEN AND UNPLANNED PREGNANCY
The National Campaign to prevent teen and unplanned pregnancy database provides access to interventions that have some evidence of success in changing behaviour related to teen pregnancy. The programs must demonstrate delay in initiation of sex, improve contraceptive use, and/or decrease teen pregnancy. Interventions are evaluated based on an experimental design. Users can search the database by program outcome, funding eligibility, evaluation design, age, race/ethnicity, gender, location, and population.
CHARACTER EDUCATION PARTNERSHIP: Promising Practices in Character Education
As part of the National Schools of Character Program, Charter Education Partnership (CEP) has gathered information on Promising Practices to schools and districts in the United States and other places. The promising practices are for implementing strategies in character education. The website posts descriptions of the practices, as well as contact information for the schools that implemented them so that character educators can learn from each other. Users can search the database by browsing the descriptions or by searching by topic, principle and/or grade level.
URBAN PARTNERSHIPS FOR WELFARE REFORM: URBAN PARTNERSHIPS INITIATIVE ONLINE TOOLKIT
The Urban Partnerships Initiatives is a project to improve outcomes for low-income families by facilitating peer exchange among Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) stakeholders in 26 urban centres. The toolkit is a collection of resources, templates, examples, and instruments that will assist TANF administrators in supporting families towards self-sufficiency. The goal of the toolkit is to help cities address some of the unique issues facing low-income populations. The toolkit provides detailed information about innovative strategies so stakeholders elsewhere can replicate them and improve service delivery. Users can search the toolkit by topic. Strategies are classified as promising practices, common practices, or innovative practices. Promising practice outcomes show positive effects on families’ self-sufficiency. Common practices are practices in at least five cities with practice evidence. Innovative practices are novel approaches that show promise for success based on theory or practice experience.
INDIAN HEALTH SERVICE: THE FEDERAL HEALTH PROGRAM FOR AMERICAN INDIANS AND ALASKA NATIVES
The Indian Health Service (HIS) database is an inventory of Best Practice, Promising Practice, Local Effort, Resource and Policies occurring among American Indian/Alaska Native communities, schools, work sites, health centers/clinics and hospitals. Best practices are considered evidence-based practices. Users can search the 369 items in the database based on region, health indicators, topic or by keyword.
OFFICE OF JUVENILE JUSTICE AND DELINQUENCY PREVENTION: MODEL PROGRAMS GUIDE
The Model Program’s Guide database contains over 200 evidence-based programs aiming to help practitioners and communities implement evidence-based prevention and intervention programs for youth services. The programs contained in the database are scientifically evaluated. Users can search the database by browsing the programs or by searching based on demographics, problem behaviours, population, phase of the program, program rating, program type, and target setting. Programs are rated based on program effectiveness. Exemplary programs demonstrate empirical findings using reputable evaluation frameworks and evaluation design. Effective programs demonstrate adequate empirical findings using a sound conceptual framework and evaluation design of high quality (quasi-experimental). Promising practices demonstrate promising, and sometimes inconsistent, empirical findings using a reasonable evaluation framework that requires more appropriate experimental techniques. Dimensions of program effectiveness include the conceptual framework of the program, program fidelity, evaluation design, and empirical evidence demonstrating the prevention or reduction of problem behaviour or risk factors or enhanced protective factors.
THE UN SECRETARY-GENERAL’S DATABASE ON VIOLENCE AGAINST WOMEN
The database on violence against women coordinates information on the extent, nature and consequences of violence against women, and on the impact and effectiveness of policies and programs, including best practices, to combat the violence. Information comes from Member State responses to a questionnaire on violence against women, state parties’ reports to human rights treaty bodies, information provided by member states, and information available through relevant UN entities. Users can search the database by type or measure, form of violence, country/region, year, and keyword. Promising practices in law and provision of services are listed.
HEALTH MATTERS: Promising Practices
Health Matters is a collection of programs, practices and policies aimed at improving community health and quality of life. The database exists in many communities across the United States. The purpose of the database is to inform professionals and community members of successful efforts to create positive change and encourage implementation of successful practices for the benefit of the local community. The database provides users with access to program reviews and ranked practices that range from ideas to evidence-based practices. Evidence-based practices have achieved success in one or more localities, demonstrated by quantitative evaluation. Effective practices have achieved success in one or more localities, demonstrated by quantitative evaluation with results that are not statistically significant. Practices categorized as “Good Ideas” are programs that have not yet been scientifically evaluated. Users can search the database by keywords, ranking or category.
A list of URLs that use this database is below:
Other Research Exchange Forums
UNITED NATIONS EDUCATIONAL, SCIENTIFIC, AND CULTURAL ORGANIZATION: MANAGEMENT OF SOCIAL TRANSFORMATIONS PROGRAMME
The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization Management of Social Transformations Program aims to transfer relevant social science research findings and data to decision-makers and other stakeholders. Rather than being a database of best practices, this site is a forum for searching any research related to social inclusion and the social dimension of climate change. Most of the research available through the search engine focuses on building efficient bridges between research, policy, and practice, promoting a culture of evidence-based policy making at regional, national, and the international level.
THE CAMPBELL COLLABORATION LIBRARY OF SYSTEMATIC REVIEWS
The Campbell Library provides users with access to systematic reviews conducted by the Campbell Collaboration for effective interventions to tackle issues in areas of education, crime and justice and social welfare. The systematic reviews summarize the best available research on specific questions by synthesizing the results of several studies. The reviews find, evaluate and synthesize the results of relevant research based on pre-defined procedures to ensure replication is possible and to minimize bias.
WORLD BANK DEVELOPMENT MARKETPLACE
The World Bank Development Marketplace is a compilation of information on development programs in their early stages that have been identified as scalable and/or replicable and have the potential for development impact that have received grants. The site is more of a compilation of promising practices than a database of best practices in development. Projects that receive grants are included on the website. Winning projects must demonstrate social impact, sustainability, growth potential, and innovation. Users can search projects by keywords, year, sector, country, and activity status.
Page created by: Anna Hodgins in February 2013, last modified by Ian Clark on 5 December 2015. Image: Craft Based Learning, Les Roches International School of Hotel Management from Flickr, 10 December 2015.