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Training Nonprofit Management Students to Critically Consume and Apply Knowledge Curated by Evidence-Based Program Registries

Christopher Scott Horne


Nonprofit management students can learn a great deal about program design and evaluation from evidence-based program registries (EBPRs), such as the U.S. Department of Education’s What Works Clearinghouse and the Department of Justice’s, which synthesize program evaluations and research about a wide range of types of programs that nonprofit organizations commonly operate. Nonprofit management educators and their students should use EBPRs with caution, though, as their research syntheses tend to prioritize internal validity over external validity. This article offers a pedagogical model useful for training students to critically consume and apply EBPR resources. Classroom-tested examples are provided to demonstrate the usefulness of this pedagogical model for preparing students to use EBPR resources independently in real-life settings. This pedagogical model is recommended for use in nonprofit management education more generally, as future nonprofit managers should be prepared to work effectively and independently in complex environments.

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Evidence-based program registries; nonprofit management; program planning; program evaluation; pedagogy; andragogy; higher education; scaffolding; Bloom’s taxonomy

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