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Review Process

The review was conducted for HHS by researchers from Mathematica Policy Research, an independent research organization. The review team identified and assessed relevant studies released from 1989 through October 2016. Additional updates are not planned for the future.

Overview of the Review Process

The review process involved four main steps:
  • Search for Studies

    Search for Studies

    We began with a broad literature search that included both published and unpublished work. We scanned the reference lists of existing research syntheses; searched the websites of relevant federal agencies and research and policy organizations; conducted keyword searches of electronic databases; hand searched relevant journals and professional conference proceedings; and issued periodic public calls for studies.
  • Screen and Select Studies

    Screen and Select Studies

    We then screened studies against pre-specified eligibility criteria. For example, to be eligible for the review, studies must be conducted in the U.S., use a sample of youth age 19 or younger, and measure program impacts on pregnancy, sexually transmitted infections, or associated sexual risk behaviors.
  • Assess Individual Studies

    Assess Individual Studies

    For studies that met the eligibility criteria, trained reviewers assessed each study for the quality and execution of its research design. As a part of this assessment, each study was assigned a quality rating of high, moderate, or low according to the risk of bias in the study's impact findings. The Teen Pregnancy Prevention Evidence Review did not examine curriculum content to make assessments about whether a program was medically or scientifically accurate, or inclusive of populations that are diverse in terms of race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, and sexual identity. Meeting the Evidence Review criteria does not indicate HHS endorsement of a program model. See more here
  • Analyze Evidence for Individual Programs

    Analyze Evidence for Individual Programs

    For studies that passed the review quality assessment with either a high or moderate rating, we extracted and analyzed program impact estimates to assess evidence of effectiveness for each individual program. Studies receiving a low quality rating were excluded from this assessment, because the risk of bias in these studies was considered too high to yield credible estimates of program effectiveness.

Review Protocol

A more detailed description of the review process and study ratings is provided in the review protocol. The protocol was initially written at the start of the review in fall 2009. The study team revised the protocol each time the review findings were updated to include more recent research.

Review Protocol, version 5.0 (613 KB)

This protocol was used to update the review findings to cover research released from July 2014 through October 2016. The protocol also introduced two new changes to the review criteria. First, to remain eligible for the review, programs must now have at least one study that was conducted within the last 20 years and that found positive, statistically significant program impacts. Second, the review team conducted outcome specific assessments of program effectiveness.

Review Protocol, version 4.0 (699 KB)

This protocol was used to update the review findings to cover research released from April 2013 through July 2014. The protocol also added a step for assessing the implementation readiness of programs that have met the review criteria for evidence of effectiveness.

Review Protocol, version 3.0 (709 KB)

This protocol was used to update the review findings to cover research released from January 2011 through April 2013. The protocol also clarified the review criteria related to cluster adjustments, attrition calculations, and effect size information.

Review Protocol, version 2.0 (1 MB)

This protocol was used to update the review findings to cover research released from January 2010 through January 2011. There were no changes to the review criteria.

Review Protocol, version 1.0 (772 KB)

This protocol was used to conduct the initial review of the evidence, which covered research released from 1989 through January 2010.