Evidence Summary Protocol

Evidence refers to information that suggests or demonstrates that an intervention works or will work.


Evidence refers to information that suggests or demonstrates that an intervention works or will work. Evidence-based services refer to techniques and strategies whose effectiveness has been supported by research studies. Evidence-based programs refer to collected services used together whose effectiveness has been supported by research studies.

Given differences in setting and target population, to increase the likelihood of effectiveness, evidence-based services and programs often must adapt based on client and practitioner characteristics, with subsequent evaluation. This is done within the framework of evidence-based practice. Evidence-based practice (EBP) is a decision-making process which integrates (1) the best research evidence available, (2) information on client characteristics, culture, and preferences; and (3) practitioner expertise to guide and inform the delivery of interventions.

There are numerous benefits associated with evidence-based practice:

  • EBP promotes the quality, effectiveness, and efficiency of interventions and reduces the likelihood of harm
  • EBP leads to the development of new knowledge
  • EBP facilitates the decision-making process for practitioners
  • EBP fosters lifelong learning and critical thinking among practitioners
  • EBP promotes positive outcomes by emphasizing shared decision-making between practitioners and clients

One of Switchboard’s project objectives is to improve the capacity of resettlement service providers to provide evidence-based services. Switchboard’s needs assessments of providers serving Office of Refugee Resettlement (ORR)-eligible populations consistently demonstrate a desire for information about evidence-based services. To our knowledge, no other database exists that focuses solely on research related to outcomes, interventions, and populations served by resettlement service providers.

This database is structured around evidence summaries that provide decision makers with the most recent, highest quality evidence available on a particular resettlement topic in an easily digestible format. Evidence summaries are intended to be used primarily at the program planning level. Identified gaps in evidence may be used to inform future research. Switchboard’s research database includes all individual studies and supplemental studies from each summary.

To learn more, click here to read Switchboard’s blog post Three Ways That Evidence Summaries Can Transform Resettlement Work!

Evidence Summary Inclusion Criteria

Studies included in the Switchboard Evidence Database’s evidence summaries must report on at least one intervention and its outcome(s). The Switchboard Evidence Database prioritizes the most rigorous intervention research designs. These include:

  • meta-analyses, or systematic analyses of sets of existing evaluations of similar programs;
  • systematic reviews (syntheses of the best available evidence on specific research questions) that use meta-analysis or narrative synthesis focused on evaluations of the impacts of at least one specific policy, program, or intervention;
  • published individual impact evaluations using randomized controlled trials (RCTs/C-RCTs), natural experiments, quasi-experimental techniques such as difference-in-difference (DID), instrumental variables (IV), regression discontinuity (RDD), propensity score matching (PSM), or other forms of synthetic matching, as well as fixed effects techniques with interaction terms;
  • published literature reviews; and
  • suggestive evidence from published studies using methods including uncontrolled before and after tests, posttest only, interrupted time series (ITS), cross-sectional regressions, longitudinal panels, cohort and case-controls, as well as purely qualitative techniques.

Studies included in evidence summaries focus primarily on high-income or upper middle-income countries, including but not limited to the U.S. Studies included must have been published within the past 10 years. The database prioritizes for inclusion study samples that include one or more of the following ORR-eligible populations: refugees, asylees, Special Immigrant Visa (SIV) recipients, Cuban and Haitian entrants, victims of trafficking, Amerasians, survivors of torture, and humanitarian parolees. In the event of no available studies with these populations, the search may be expanded to adjacent populations such as immigrants or low-income persons.

Priority outcomes and interventions are identified annually through Switchboard’s needs assessment and consultation with ORR.

Detailed search protocols for each identified intervention are available in the relevant evidence summary. These detailed search protocols include websites and databases searched, population terms, methodology terms, and intervention or outcome terms.

Studies that do not meet the criteria for inclusion in Evidence Summaries may be listed as supplemental studies if they:

  • Have been published in a reputable, peer-reviewed journal;
  • Present findings related to ORR-eligible populations; and
  • Have practical implications for refugee service providers in resettlement/integration contexts.

Such studies may include descriptive studies of interventions, conceptual models of interventions, prevalence studies, and studies of risk and protective factors.