Exploring the Journey of an Evidence-Based Practice

Understanding what’s involved, what’s your why, and does this path make sense for your organization? 

The Challenge

Up against the growing pressures of becoming an evidence-based program, The Conflict Center (TCC) wanted to better understand what it meant, and what it would entail for their organization before deciding how to move forward.


The Result

The Conflict Center (TCC) learned what it would take to become evidence-based, and gained clarity on what the best path would be for their organization, while strengthening their data practices and programming along the way.


Understanding Evidence-Based Programming

Evidenced-based programming – implementing strategies that have been demonstrated via research to be effective at other organizations – is a growing trend. Like many nonprofits, The Conflict Center (TCC) was feeling the pressure, and up against the decision to adopt evidence-based programming or not.

Our work with TCC began by educating their team about evidence-based practices and how these practices fit in their program model.

TCC provides conflict resolution education for youth and adults across the Metro Denver area. These classes help its participants build their communication, negotiation, social and emotional skills. ResultsLab’s work focused on their youth program, which engages students ages 11 – 18 and their parents. While the organization collects quite a bit of data about their classes, Steve Felt, TCC Program Coordinator, and the TCC team were looking for a more solid path forward to understand their effectiveness.

Creating a Clear Path Forward

We coached a team of three TCC staff through identifying their intended long-term outcomes, describing the core components of their services, and assessing whether the right components were in place. “We’ve narrowed (our youth program) down from 12 things that we teach to 6 things,” Steve mentioned. “We’re clearer now on what we think is important to teach, based on our experience and current research.” Throughout the process, TCC was able to strengthen its data practices and improve programmatic outcomes, without the various burdens of fully becoming evidenced-based.

Another result of our work with Steve and TCC team was helping them deliver their classes consistently. One tool we created was a comprehensive program implementation manual – a guide for how to run their program. “You really have to pay attention to all of this stuff if you want to operate the program with fidelity or replicate it elsewhere,” Steve mentioned. TCC now uses this manual to train new staff and continues to update it when changes occur.

A third area where we focused was on aligning assessments to the organization’s intended outcomes. TCC already excelled at assessing its participants for knowledge gained.  However, learning objectives and milestones were less clear for their instructor training program. We helped TCC define criteria instructors must meet when starting their training, graduating training, becoming a paid instructor, and becoming an instructor mentor. These milestones have created a more transparent process and made expectations clearer. We also helped TCC revise their teacher evaluations so the feedback they receive aligns with the milestones each teacher must meet.

One of our priorities with TCC was building their evaluation skills so they could keep making progress after our work was complete. The team was able to use their learnings from the work that we did together, and apply it to their other program. “I think we’re much better prepared now than we were a year and a half ago,” Steve says.

We’re thrilled to see their progress and look forward to their continued success in teaching Denver about the important work of conflict resolution. You can learn more about The Conflict Center on their website.