Current to Best Practice: An Approach to Establishing a Clearinghouse

Date of Award


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy



First Advisor

Brooks Applegate, Ph.D.

Second Advisor

Jessaca K. Spybrook, Ph.D.

Third Advisor

Edward A. Roth, Ph.D.


Clearinghouse, evidence-based practice, mixed methods, music therapy, research to practice, scoping review


Clearinghouses provide a central location for evaluating and synthesizing studies to inform practice and policy. Many stakeholders rely on these clearinghouses to make evidence-based decisions for practice and research. This investigation aims to develop and evaluate a sequence of methods that fields/disciplines can use to establish a clearinghouse. Specifically, this research provides a roadmap to form a clearinghouse for music therapy (MT) intervention-based research. This work consists of three individual research studies. Each study addresses a component of how the field of MT, through a clearinghouse, can provide a solution for disseminating evidence-based practices. Study 1 provides a framework to identify a pool of intervention studies based on the literature of a given field; Study 2 offers a unique method for reviewing established clearinghouses related to the literature found in Study 1; and Study 3 selects a sample of articles from the population identified in Study 1, applies evidence standards from clearinghouses identified in Study 2 to that sample, and provides a novel method for qualitatively and quantitatively comparing the findings.

Study 1 uses a scoping review to identify a pool of MT clinical intervention articles from 2016 to 2021. Data from the 739 articles are extracted on the disciplines, research designs, populations, interventions, and settings covered. This data creates four taxonomies for how the literature is organized. Study 2 conducts a scoping review to identify active clearinghouses that align with the disciplines and populations covered in Study 1. Data on 31 clearinghouses are extracted from clearinghouse websites to better understand their overall purpose, organization, and other key elements. Two clearinghouses are identified as the most relevant to the field of MT based on the disciplines, methodologies, and populations covered and the types of evidence standards used. Study 3 uses a mixed method, concurrent, qual + QUANT design in which evidence standards from the two clearinghouses are first compared qualitatively. The two clearinghouses selected from Study 2 are the Promising Practices Database (PPD) and the Home Visiting Evidence of Effectiveness (HomVEE). PPD evidence standards cover elements relating to the intervention, research design, and the overall effectiveness of the intervention (Taylor et al., 2021). HomVEE evidence standards cover elements relating to the internal validity of the research design. Sixty-three articles are randomly sampled from Study 1, and the evidence standards from both clearinghouses are applied. Applying the evidence standards provides categorical rankings for each article from each clearinghouse. Results indicate that the clearinghouses classified 63% of the articles similarly. Sensitivity and specificity analyses indicate where the classification differences occur. The classification differences form the basis of recommendations for the field to (a) include evidence standards related to transparency, openness, and reproducibility, (b) include evidence standards for additional methodologies (i.e., qualitative and mixed methods), (c) provide a rating for study quality and study level effectiveness, (d) provide a rating or summary of effectiveness at the methodology and overall intervention level, and (e) provide intervention information, such as mode of delivery, implementation, training, and cost.

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