Pathways Clearinghouse Guide for Researchers

Pathways Clearinghouse Guide for Researchers

OPRE Brief #2022-08
Published: Jan 31, 2022
Publisher: Washington, DC: Office of Planning, Research, and Evaluation, Administration for Children and Families, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services

Leah Shiferaw

Dana Rotz

Over the past several decades, evaluations have produced a great deal of research on interventions designed to improve the employment outcomes of Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) recipients, beneficiaries of other public benefit programs, and other people with low incomes. But the sheer volume of research combined with the diversity of the findings can make it challenging to identify those that are most reliable and relevant.

The Pathways to Work Evidence Clearinghouse is dedicated to gathering information from research and making research evidence more useful to decision makers. As part of these efforts, the Pathways Clearinghouse identifies interventions that aim to directly or indirectly improve employment outcomes and systematically evaluates and summarizes the evidence of interventions’ effectiveness. This guide is for researchers conducting rigorous evaluations of interventions that aim to improve employment outcomes, reduce employment challenges, and support self-sufficiency for people with low incomes. It introduces the Pathways Clearinghouse and the standards and procedures it uses for screening and reviewing studies and rating the quality of research studies and the evidence of intervention effectiveness.

Researchers and research funders can use this high-level overview to better understand the Pathways Clearinghouse and its processes for selecting studies for review, assigning study quality ratings, and assessing the evidence of effectiveness for an intervention. In particular, researchers can use this guide to understand:

  • How to conduct studies that may be eligible to receive the highest possible quality ratings from the Pathways Clearinghouse.
  • Why their study was or was not included in the Pathways Clearinghouse, why their study received its study quality rating, and how their study was grouped with other studies to assess intervention effectiveness.
  • Common pitfalls for study authors to avoid to ensure their research achieves a high quality rating and therefore reaches the broadest possible audience through Pathways Clearinghouse dissemination efforts.

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