The Campbell Collaboration: A New Model for Producing Evidence on What Works

Robert F. Boruch, University of Pennsylvania
Anthony Petrosino, American Acad of Arts & Sci./Harvard Univ

Evidence-based policy requires the synthesis of prior evaluation studies. Unfortunately, despite the development of a "science of reviewing," obstacles in providing up-to-date evidence on what works still exists. These include the lack of a single-source for such evidence, the failure of reviews to be updated in light of new studies or methodological developments, the lag time and uncertain dissemination of journals, and the limitation of reviews to Anglophone studies. We describe an international organization known as the Campbell Collaboration that will help address these and other problems. Named after the influential psychologist Donald Campbell, the Collaboration will conduct, prepare, periodically update, and make rapidly accessible systematic reviews of high-quality evidence on what works in areas like criminal justice, social work, and education. Other groups have been created to address methodological developments, as well as communication channels. The paper discusses the Campbell Collaboration's first two years of operation.

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Updated 05/20/2006