Core Intervention Components: Identifying and Operationalizing What Makes Programs Work. Key Take-Away Messages


·         Usability testing research that identifies, measures, and tests the efficacy of program core components or "active ingredients" can improve our understanding of which program elements are essential for evidence-based programs and practices to produce desired outcomes.

·         Program funders should consider including requirements to specify the core components of interventions as deliverables at the end of a demonstration or pilot phase to facilitate replication and scalability.

·         Decision-makers seeking to select and validate intervention might ask program developers for a description of intervention's core components, the rationales underlying each core component, fidelity measures, and measures of processes and outcomes.

·         Policymakers should require that evidence-based program implementations include plans for defining, operationalizing and validating core components to ensure alignment with desired outcomes, and ongoing assessments of fidelity in delivering the core components to maintain and improve outcomes over time.

·         Program developers should consider monitoring the potential social and participant-level costs when core components are missing or not clearly articulated to understand why developing core components is a sound, efficient, and strategic approach to achieving positive outcomes.

Since issues related to the core components of interventions are relevant to producing new knowledge about what works and for moving science to practice in socially significant ways, this brief is relevant for a range of professionals and stakeholders, including program developers, researchers, implementers, and policy makers.

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