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Implementing Evidence-Based Practices

NCJ Number
Date Published
January 2015
21 pages
Recognizing that evidence-based programs can be replicated only when properly implemented, this report identifies key implementation challenges in such replications and presents research-based strategies that organizations can use to facilitate sound implementation.
"Implementation fidelity" refers to the degree to which a program's implementation in any real-world setting matches the original program model. Research has shown that several factors can affect an organization's ability to implement an evidence-based program with a high degree of fidelity. These include the complexity of the program, facilitation strategies that are available to the implementing organization, and the responsiveness of program clients and staff. Program models that provide specific implementation guidelines or protocols facilitate higher levels of adherence, regardless of the complexity of the program. The responsiveness and engagement of implementation staff is important in ensuring that the program leadership is attentive to detail and guidelines in program implementation. The clients targeted for the program are also a key factor in program implementation. The targeted participants must be matched as closely as possible to those who participated successfully in the evidence-based program model in terms of cultural backgrounds, gender, age, educational and developmental levels, and criminogenic needs. Adaptation of the original evidence-based program model to varying settings is also an issue. This report suggests that initial implementation be as close to the original program model as possible, with adaptations made only after the program's operation and outcomes have been assessed over time. 29 references

Date Published: January 1, 2015