Conceptualizing and Measuring the Promotion of Nonprofit Organizations’ Evidence Use by U.S. Social Service Funding Programs
Keywords:Evidence-Based, Research Use, Grants, Evaluation, Nonprofit
Previous research on U.S. federal promotion of evidence-based programming has focused on evidence-based program registries and concludes their usefulness is undermined by prioritizing internal validity over external validity. This research explores how federal funding programs are actually promoting funded nonprofit organizations’ evidence use instead of what we might infer from registries alone. An inductively developed conceptual framework is applied to describe all 53 fiscal year (FY) 2019 social service funding programs that include nonprofit organizations among the eligible applicants, finding they promote multiple types of evidence use, with generally low coerciveness, and with applicants frequently co-determining what counts as evidence. These findings point to promotion of evidence use that balances evidence-driven prescriptiveness and enabling nonprofits’ innovation.
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