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Panelists SPEAKERS


Evidence Review Methodological Framework: The case of Teen Pregnancy Prevention Research

Date: 27 Apr 2011

Time: 12:30 PM

Location: Washington D.C., United States


Latin America and the Caribbean is a young Region: 25% of population is between 15 and 29 years. Although numbers vary within countries, the region in general has remarkably high rates of risky behaviors, including violence, drug abuse, and unprotected sex.

The Social Protection and Health Division at the IDB is launching a program called Controlling Sex, Drugs and Violence. Are we reducing the risks for the next generation? The program will analyze the effectiveness of some of the most promising at-risk youth interventions in the region through a systematic evidence review/meta-analysis. Such operational and technical knowledge will in turn enhance the capacity of the Bank to design operational products and set a sound basis for a better understanding of these topics for regional policy makers. The knowledge and results of this IDB initiative are allowing us to take the lead in further producing and disseminating robust evidence in this field. The program is financed by the Finnish Technical Fund with support of the Korea Poverty Reduction Fund.

In this context, we have invited Mathematica Policy Research to share their experience in designing and implementing an independent systematic review of the evidence on US teen pregnancy prevention.  Based on these criteria, the Department funded specific interventions to prevent teen pregnancy in the US. In this context, the session will  focus on:

  • Methodological Process and design of the research review
  • Methodological Framework of Systematic Reviews
  • Decisions to be made in order to define a review protocol
  • Results of the Pregnancy Prevention Research Evidence Review
  • Use of results by playmakers’


In total, 28 programs met the funding criteria, reflecting a range of program models and target populations. Of those programs, 20 had evidence of impacts on sexual activity (for example, sexual initiation, number of partners, or frequency of sexual activity), 9 on contraceptive use, 4 on STIs, and 5 on pregnancy or births.

The review had four steps:

1. Find Potentially Relevant Studies. Studies were identified by a review of reference lists from earlier research syntheses, a public call for studies to solicit new and unpublished research, a search of relevant research and policy organizations’ websites, and keyword searches of electronic databases. Nearly 1,000 potentially relevant studies were identified.

2. Screen Studies to Review. To be eligible for review, a study had to examine the effects of an intervention using quantitative data and statistical analysis. It had to estimate program impacts on a relevant outcome—sexual activity (for example, delayed sexual initiation), contraceptive use, sexually transmitted infections (STIs), or pregnancy or births. The study had to focus on United States youth ages 19 or younger and have been conducted or published since 1989. A total of 199 studies met these screening criteria.

3. Assess Quality of Studies. Impact studies that met the screening criteria were reviewed by trained staff and assigned a rating of high, moderate, or low based on the rigor and thorough execution of their research designs. The high rating was reserved for random assignment studies with low attrition of sample members and no sample reassignment. The moderate rating was given to quasi-experimental designs with well-matched comparison groups at baseline, and to certain random assignment studies that did not meet all the criteria for the high rating. Quasi-experimental and random assignment impact studies that did not meet the criteria for either a high or moderate rating were assigned the low rating.

4. Assess Evidence of Effectiveness. A framework was developed for grouping programs into different evidence categories, based on the impact findings of studies meeting the criteria for a high or moderate rating. HHS then defined which of these categories would be eligible for funding. To qualify for funding, a program had to be supported by at least one high- or moderate-rated impact study showing a positive, statistically significant impact on at least one priority outcome (sexual activity, contraceptive use, STIs, or pregnancy or births), for either the full study sample or key subgroup (defined by gender or baseline sexual experience).

Note: The events is by invitation only. Presentations and minutes of the event will be posted in this website.

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