Evidence request bank: Applying evidence to practice

The Evidence Request Bank (ERB) aimed to help services make practical use of social research evidence.  It produced evidence reviews and helped services to understand the evidence and use evidence in practice, an evidence to action cycle was created to facilitate this..

The project was led by the Centre for Research on Families and Relationships (CRFR) with Parenting across Scotland, West Lothian Council, Children in Scotland and the Scottish Government.

Some examples of how the project partners used ERB evidence reviews are:

  • West Lothian Council: used an evidence review on transitions to primary school to create a driver diagram to inform tests of change as part of its Early Years Collaborative work. The review enabled the council to direct resources effectively and to help practitioners be confident in their approach.  Read more about this
  • Parenting across Scotland: held a seminar to discuss an evidence review of data on the changing shape of the family.  It has since used the data in online information resources and policy work; and will continue to use it to highlight gaps and evidence needs.
  • Children in Scotland: is planning events to discuss the implications of ERB evidence reports about children and families, and is sharing evidence through its training programme, magazine and website

The ERB pilot found:

  • Even when people want to use evidence to inform their work, it can be difficult for them to specify what they need to know and to decide on priorities
  • Approaches to using evidence may differ depending on context, purpose and previous experience
  • When the whole team was involved in discussions, this helped to clarify understanding and expectations, and to direct resources effectively
  • Even when organisations want to use evidence, they may not have the resources to do what the evidence suggests they should

You can read more at: www.crfr.ac.uk/assets/briefing-73web.pdf

The evidence reviews are at: http://www.crfr.ac.uk/projects/current-projects/evidencebank

What next for the ERB?

The ERB will become part of What Works Scotland (WWS) (whatworksscotland.ac.uk), a new initiative to improve how local areas use evidence to inform public service development and reform.

You can keep up to date with Evidence Bank developments and What Works Scotland by joining the mailing list at: whatworksscotland.ac.uk/contact-us/

The ERB development project was funded by the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC), with additional funding and in-kind contributions from the partners.

What Works Scotland is a collaboration between the Universities of Edinburgh and Glasgow and funded by ESRC and the Scottish Government for three years until 2017.