Evidence Bank



CRFR is developing an Evidence Bank – a knowledge service which supports evidence into action

The Evidence Bank builds on an evidence-to-action model developed by the Centre for Research on Families and Relationships (CRFR), which explored ways of supporting services to identify specific gaps in knowledge and consider how evidence could help address them. The processes included providing robust and accessible reviews of diverse evidence, as well as supporting services to plan how to use this evidence in practice.

The model was developed in partnership with children, families, relationships and disability organisations and services in the third and public sectors. The Evidence Bank is currently being developed further in the context of public service delivery as part of What Works Scotland, a new initiative to improve the way local areas in Scotland use evidence to make decisions about public service development and reform. The ERB will sit within the What Works Scotland Evidence into Action stream, led by CRFR, serving What Works Scotland while continuing explorations over longer-term sustainability.


About the pilot project

The Evidence Request Bank (ERB) was a one year pilot development project which developed an evidence-to-action cycle in order to explore ways in which organisations can be supported to access and use evidence to inform their work. As well as supporting the partners we piloted this with, this enabled us to explore a potential model for an evidence service:

evidence bar
1 Evidence request: The ERB supported organisations to identify what they wanted to know and refine these ‘knowledge gaps’ in order to make a specific request for evidence to address them.
2 Evidence response: The ERB produced an appraised report, which provides an overview of the existing research evidence and comments on its relevance and applicability to the request that has been made. We used peer and user reviewers to provide a quality and relevance check for each report.
3 Planning to use evidence: The ERB supported organisations to consider the evidence and plan how they could use and share the evidence from the report.
4 What is done differently: The ERB collected information about what the organisation had changed or done differently as a result of using evidence.
5 Sharing evidence: The report was lodged into an online Evidence Bank allowing further access, use and learning.

A CRFR briefing about the Evidence Bank model developed during the pilot project and the learning from it can be read here.

The Evidence Request Bank pilot project (2013-2014) was led by the Centre for Research on Families and Relationships (CRFR) in collaboration with West Lothian Council, Parenting Across Scotland, Children in Scotland and the Scottish Government, and was based on previous development work by CRFR. The project was funded by the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC), with additional funding and in-kind contributions from the partners.

Evidence reviews produced during the pilot project

Family Households: How have family households in Scotland changed over 2001-2011?
Parenting Across Scotland requested this report because they wanted to know what households look like in Scotland today, and how have they changed in recent years. They were also interested to know about any gaps in data – in other words, what information we do not know. PAS hopes that this evidence will increase knowledge about families in Scotland for those organisations providing services.

Family households: full report
Family households: summary

Transition to primary school
West Lothian Council requested this evidence review to provide an evidence base for their Early Years Collaborative improvement work within the area of transitions. They wanted to know more about the factors that affect children’s transition to primary school, what can help in managing transitions, and what the barriers might be for services and families.

Transition to primary school report

Evidence into action

How development project partners used evidence in action can be read here: Evidence into action: how project partners are using the evidence reviews



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