If it is important to be evidence-based in our interventions, isn’t it also important to be evidence-based in how we provide support via tools, training, technical assistance, and quality assurance/quality improvement?
My colleagues and I have asked this question for over 20 years. Ten years ago, Victoria Chien Scott and Jason Katz and I published an article called Toward an Evidence-Based System for Innovation Support for Implementing Innovations with Quality: Tools, Training, Technical Assistance, and Quality Assurance/Quality Improvement in the American Journal of Community Psychology. We discussed the importance of developing evidence-based approaches to the four major types of support (tools including websites, training, TA, and QA/QI). Since that time, we have worked on furthering the science and practice of support with a focus on TA. One of our major activities has been to systematically review the literature on TA and point to major implications for the science and practice of TA. In 2016, Jason Katz and I published Technical Assistance to Enhance Prevention Capacity: A Research Synthesis of the Evidence Base in Prevention Science. Now, in 2022, Victoria Scott, Zara Jillani, Adele Malpert, Jennifer Kolodny-Goetz, and I have published A Scoping Review of the Evaluation and Effectiveness of Technical Assistance in Implementation Science Communications. This new systematic scoping review of two decades of the scientific literature plainly reveals the state of the science of technical assistance and has many implications for improving both the science and practice of TA, particularly in the context of evaluating TA. If we want to help improve the world of intervention supports, then funders, researchers/evaluators, support personnel such as TA providers, and other key stakeholders must help grow and use the evidence of effective support.
Contributed by founder Abe Wandersman