3. What are key steps to evaluating evidence-informed practice?

When you are planning to implement a new practice, factor in from the beginning an effective outcome-focused evaluation.  Only by doing this can you know whether your evidence-informed changes have worked.

In order to plan an effective evaluation, you must first be clear about the purpose of the evaluation. This might include:

  • assessing whether objectives have been achieved
  • assessing the outcome for people using the services
  • learning from successes and mistakes

The evaluation process needs to be proportionate to the service change you are planning. Don’t make the evaluation so intensive it diverts resources from actually implementing the change.

There are six key steps in an evaluation cycle:

  • setting measurable outcomes
  • selecting indicators and identifying sources of evidence
  • planning the evaluation process
  • choosing methods and collecting and recording data
  • analysing data and presenting results
  • reflecting on practice and sharing findings

The resources in this section offer specific guidance on outcome-focused evaluation for social services.

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