Evidence to action

About Families has completed its three-year programme and is launching new resources to share learning about using evidence in action.

The project has provided evidence for shaping services, to ensure that the changing needs of parents, including families affected by disability, are met.

Between 2010 and 2013, it focused on four main parenting topics:

It also looked at the relationship of these to kinship care.

It used an 'evidence to action cycle' model to help organisations use the evidence, and consult with service users, when developing services.

The project piloted an 'evidence bank', which produced concise evidence reviews in direct response to family and disability service-related research questions.

The project shares its experience of using the 'evidence to action cycle' model in 'About Families: what we learned about evidence to action '.  Findings include:

  • Accessible evidence: researchers and practitioners valued research evidence collected in one place, which was easy to access
  • Research gaps: service providers and academics valued the fact that the project identified gaps in evidence
  • Supporting organisations: the project helped services use evidence to inform their thinking and practice
  • Clear process: this helped services apply evidence and make action plans
  • Service-led development: involving service users was a new and positive experience for many partners

Next steps

The Centre for Research on Families and Relationships is being funded for a year by the Economic and Social Research Council, the Scottish Government and Parenting across Scotland to develop one of the main aspects of About Families: developing accessible research in direct response to organisations' service planning needs.producing evidence reviews on parenting topics distilling research into clearer more accessible format to help organisations plan their services in response to the latest evidence.

CRFR along with Children in Scotland, Parenting across Scotland and West Lothian Council will conduct a feasibility study for a research evidence bank which builds on the work of About Families.

About Families was a partnership between the Centre for Research on Families and Relationships (CRFR), Capability Scotland and Parenting across Scotland.  It was funded by the National Lottery through the Big Lottery Fund.