Transportability of EBP

The transportability of evidence-based programmes: conceptual issues and empirical examples

Dr Nick Axford, Dr Vashti Berry, Prof Frances Gardner

Most rigorous trials of evidence-based programmes are undertaken in a few high-income countries – mostly the US. Policy makers across Europe are increasingly interested in importing such programmes. This is unsurprising: arguably it is not feasible for each country to (re-)invent its own programmes. However, there have been several failures to replicate across countries. Programmes that worked in the US have not been as effective in Europe. Why is this, and what can be done about it?

This symposium involves four papers. The first outlines the main issues, drawing on a systematic review of the transportability of evidence-based parenting interventions for reducing child problem behaviour. It examines various factors that could potentially affect transportability, including: the nature/quality of the intervention; the fidelity of implementation; the degree of programme developer involvement; the design/execution of the study; the nature of the comparison group; cultural congruence; and the policy/practice context.

The next two papers examine these issues in relation to discrete programmes. One looks at a case of successful transportability, namely the implementation and evaluation by randomised controlled trial (RCT) of the Incredible Years programme in Wales and Birmingham. The other concerns an example of apparent unsuccessful transportability, namely the implementation and RCT evaluation of the PATHS social-emotional learning programme in Birmingham.

The final paper considers the ongoing implementation and RCT evaluation of the Finnish KiVa bullying prevention programme in Wales, focusing on the steps taken to learn from previous examples – like those discussed above – and increase the likelihood of successful transportability.