A general category of programs, strategies, or procedures that share similar characteristics with regard to the issues they address and how they address them. CrimeSolutions.gov uses the term “practice” in a very general way to categorize causal evidence that comes from meta-analyses of multiple program evaluations. Using meta-analysis, it is possible to group program evaluation findings in different ways to provide information about effectiveness at different levels of analysis. Therefore, practices on CrimeSolutions.gov may include the following:
- Program types – A generic category of programs that share similar characteristics with regard to the matters they address and how they do it. For example, family therapy is a program type that could be reported as a practice in CrimeSolutions.gov.
- Program infrastructures – An organizational arrangement or setting within which programs are delivered. For example, boot camps may be characterized as a practice.
- Policies or strategies – Broad approaches to situations or problems that are guided by general principles but are often flexible in how they are carried out. For example, hot spots policing may be characterized as a practice.
- Procedures or techniques – More circumscribed activities that involve a particular way of doing things in relevant situations. These may be elements or specific activities within broader programs or strategies. For example, risk assessment.
On the CrimeSolutions.gov website, a practice is distinguished from a program. Whereas the evidence base for a practice is derived from one or more meta-analyses, the evidence base for a program is derived from one to three individual program evaluations.