Review Process

Literature Search

Each October, the HomVEE team conducts a broad search for literature on home visiting models serving pregnant women or families with children from birth to kindergarten entry (that is, up through age 5). The team limits the search to research on models that used home visiting as the primary service delivery strategy and offered home visits to most or all participants. Models that provide services primarily in centers with supplemental home visits are excluded. The search is also limited to research on home visiting models that aim to improve outcomes in at least one of eight domains:

  1. Child health
  2. Child development and school readiness
  3. Family economic self-sufficiency
  4. Linkages and referrals
  5. Maternal health
  6. Positive parenting practices
  7. Reductions in child maltreatment
  8. Reductions in juvenile delinquency, family violence, and crime

HomVEE’s literature search includes two main activities:

  1. Database searches. The HomVEE team searches on relevant key words in a range of research databases. Key words include terms related to the service delivery approach, target population, and outcome domains of interest. The HomVEE team also performs focused searching, by model name, for models with the highest prioritization scores in each year. The initial search was limited to studies published since 1989; a more focused search on prioritized models included studies published since 1979 (see Prioritizing Models for Review). This search is updated annually to identify new literature released from October through the end of September. HomVEE also considers submissions to the annual call for studies, which is released in November and open through early January of the review year.
Keywords Used in the Home Visiting Evidence of Effectiveness Literature Review
Category ID Search Term

Search Restrictions


Studies published in English only
Studies published after 1989



(Home AND visit*) or “family development” or (case AND manage*) or ((coordination OR referral*) AND (home AND visit*))

Target Group


Prenatal or perinatal or pregn* or “early childhood” or preschool or “pre-school” or infan* or newborn* or toddler* or parent* or “low-income” or “low income” or poor or poverty or “young child*”



(child* and (abuse or neglect or maltreatment or health or injury or violence or attachment or immuniz* or “emergency department”)) or “infant mortality” or
((juvenile or adolescent) AND delinquen*) or
(child and (cognit* or language or “social-emotional” or “socioemotional” or “socio-emotional” or socioemotional or physical or health) and development) or “school readiness” or “school achievement” or
“child development” or “developmental delay” or (child AND behavior*) or (child AND disab*) or ((preterm or “pre-term” or premature) AND birth) or “low birth weight” or ((parent* or family or matern* or mother* or father* or patern*) and (employment or career or  stress or depress* or efficacy or “mental health” or health)) or ((subsequent or teen) AND (birth or pregnan*))or “home environment” or (parent* AND (skill* or abilit*)) or (reduc* AND (crime or “domestic violence” or “family violence” or “intimate partner violence”)) or ((community AND coordinat* OR co-ordinat*) or referral*) or “self sufficiency” or “self-sufficiency” or (smoking or tobacco) or (“armed forces” or military)

Document Type


(Study or evaluat* or research) and (effective* or efficac* or impact* or outcome*  or implement* or cost or replic*)

Combine Terms




    Databases Searched

  • Academic Search Premier
  • Campbell Collaboration
  • Child Care & Early Education Research Connections
  • CINAHL with Full Text
  • Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials
  • Cochrane Methodology Register
  • Database of Abstracts of Reviews of Effects
  • E-Journals
  • EconLit
  • Education Research Complete
  • ERIC
  • MedLine
  • New York Academy of Medicine’s Grey Literature Report
  • ProQuest Dissertations (prior to 2012, used Dissertation Abstracts)
  • PsycINFO
  • Scopus (prior to 2013, instead searched Social Sciences Citation Index, Social Work Abstracts, and Sociological Abstracts)
  • SocINDEX with Full Text
  • WorldCat
  1. Call for studies. Each fall, HomVEE issues a call for studies and sends it to relevant electronic mailing lists for dissemination. The call for studies closes in January and may include unpublished studies or studies published through December of the previous year. Submissions to the call for studies are added to HomVEE’s database of studies, along with studies obtained through the database searches. Each year, HomVEE screens all studies for relevance and prioritizes models for review; effectiveness and implementation studies on prioritized models are reviewed throughout the rest of the calendar year. HomVEE retains all submissions that are eligible for review, but because of the volume of research, it cannot fully review all submitted studies. Studies that are not about one of the prioritized models are included for consideration in subsequent review cycles.

In addition to these two activities, in the first year of the review, HomVEE also included the following:

  1. Review of existing literature reviews and meta-analyses. In the first year, the HomVEE team checked initial search results against the bibliographies of recent literature reviews and meta-analyses of home visiting models and added relevant missing citations to the search results. This check ensured that our search terms identified relevant studies; after confirming the validity of the search terms, we did not repeat the process in subsequent years.
  2. Website searches. The HomVEE team used a custom Google search engine to search more than 50 relevant government, university, research, and nonprofit websites for unpublished reports and papers. However, results of this search largely overlapped with the results of the first two activities, so the team discontinued this activity in subsequent years.