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Best Practices Research
Being a profession of practice, it is important for planners to find and use evidence-based best practices. However, best practices research is frequently not published in journal articles, but can rather be found in technical reports, case studies, and more. As such, it can take some sleuthing to find this kind of literature. Below are some tips that may help you discover best practices literature.
Tips for Best Practices Research
Tip 1: Use appropriate keywords
Search the library catalog for books by combining keywords for your topic and publication format keywords. These searches will retrieve relevant book chapters as well as book titles. In these searches be sure to select the "PSU & Summit Libraries" search scope.
Publication format keywords you might consider:
- case study
- best practice
These keywords will also help you if you choose to search the journal literature for best practices.
Tip 2: Think bureaucratically
Approach your question for best practices from a bureaucratic/organizational perspective. What government agency or organization would care about best practices related to your topic? What agency or organization has political or social capital related to your topic? What agency or organization may have conducted research or projects related to your topic?
Tip 3: Look for grey literature
Look for non-traditionally published works such as white papers from government websites, development groups, community, and non-profit organizations. Sometimes using Google Advanced Search
options (get there by clicking on "settings" from the lower right hand side of the Google home page) will help you to search for reports or publications hosted on an organization's website.
Tip 4: Use the right tool for the job
Approach your research using tools that collect and index case studies and grey literature. Also look for books and book chapters that are more likely to contain best practices research. Use the databases listed below, browse through the useful books on this page, and also consider looking at Reference Works that may contain best practices or cite best practices.
International Planning Case Studies
"A dynamic library of case studies for international planning and development education. The cases – which cover major development topics in diverse cities and regions – were developed with practitioners and researchers working across the planning and development arena. Scenarios are based on real-life situations representative of the kinds of professional decisions or actions common to development planning. The IPCS project is a collaboration between the University of Michigan and Texas A&M University." Users should use the "contact us" page to request a password.
Index to Current Urban Documents
Contains reports generated by local government agencies, civic organizations, and metropolitan and regional planning agencies for major cities in the United States and Canada.
Sage Research Methods Online
Find case studies in this packet by selecting "cases" under "Browse content."
Find building permits data. Updated monthly.
Technical Reports by
Call Number: HT167 .A43 (3rd Floor)
A series of reports and case studies published by the APA. Reports published with unique titles. Use the link to find a list of the reports in the library catalog.
The Smart Growth Manual by
Call Number: HT392 .D83 2010 (3rd Floor)
Publication Date: 2009-11-05
New Urbanism by
Call Number: HT175 .N47 2003 (3rd Floor)
Publication Date: 2003-09-01
Cities and Cars: A Handbook of Best Practices by
Call Number: HE355 .C53 2007 (Basement)
Publication Date: 2007-03-14
Evaluation in Planning by
Call Number: HT166 .E94 2006 (3rd Floor)
Publication Date: 2006-06-28
The Community Planning Event Manual by
Call Number: HN49.C6 C6535 2008 (Basement)
Publication Date: 2008-08-01
Carfree Design Manual by
Call Number: HT166 .C73 2009 (3rd Floor)
Publication Date: 2009-04-01