What is Good Evidence?
The Life Changes Trust approach to evaluation encourages the effective use of evidence of all kinds. We like to think about ‘good enough’ evidence. ‘Good enough’ evidence is evidence that helps us answer a question; typically “what works?”, “does this work?”, “for whom?” and "how?"
The Trust will soon be publishing a briefing on Insight and Evidence. This will outline what we mean by the terms 'insight'and 'evidence' and how we believe different types of evidence can contribute to a cycle of learning.
Why do we need to talk about evidence?
The idea that an organisation should use evidence to inform its work hardly seems controversial, especially if one considers the alternative – that it should actively ignore existing evidence in making decisions about its policy and practice. But the idea of evidence use, though often stated, is rarely examined in any depth.
Our starting point is that different kinds of questions require different forms of evidence, and different forms of evidence need to be interpreted, assessed, and used differently. As a result, we do not believe in a one-size-fits-all approach to evidence. At all times, however, we should be clear about the nature of the questions we are grappling with, apply critical scrutiny to evidence of all kinds, and be transparent about the logic of our conclusions and decision-making.