To explain the concept of evidence in a youth work context


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To explain the concept of evidence in a youth work context

    • To explain the concept of evidence in a youth work context
    • To distinguish between the terms ‘evidence-based’ and ‘evidence-informed ‘
    • To discuss the possibilities afforded by an evidence informed approach to youth work, involving a theory of change, and a logic model
    • To set out the challenges involved for different actors




  • Systematic reviews Objective?

  • Randomised control trials

  • Quasi-experimental study

  • ‘Before’ and ‘after’ designs

  • Retrospective designs (no baseline)

  • Independent large scale evaluations

  • Traditional literature review

  • Independent small scale evaluations

  • Independent single studies

  • Opinion pieces – peer reviewed journals

  • Expert panel/committee

  • Internal evaluation – large or small scale

  • Practice wisdom – policies, standards, manuals

  • Personal experience – reflective practice Subjective?







Know-about (problems): e.g. the nature, formation, and interrelations of social problems.

  • Know-about (problems): e.g. the nature, formation, and interrelations of social problems.

  • Know-why (requirements of action): explaining the relationship between values and policy and practice.

  • Know-how (to put into practice): e.g. pragmatic knowledge about service and programme implementation.

  • Know-who (to involve): e.g. care teams; building alliances for action. Sandra Nutley (2010)



  • An approach that helps people and organisations make well-informed decisions by putting the best available evidence at the heart of practice development and service delivery.

  • Sandra Nutley (2010)







Value led and educative

  • Value led and educative

  • Dialogical and empowering

  • Deliberative and responsive

  • Critical and reflective

  • Process and results focussed





McKee, V., Oldfield, C. and Poultney, J. (2010) The Benefits of Youth Work. Lifelong Learning UK and Unite.

  • McKee, V., Oldfield, C. and Poultney, J. (2010) The Benefits of Youth Work. Lifelong Learning UK and Unite.

  • Wiggins, M., Bonell, C., Burchett, H., Sawtell, M., Austerberry, H., Allen,E. and Strange, V. (2008) Young People’s Development Programme Evaluation: Final Report. Social Science Research Unit, Institute of Education and University of London with the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine.

  • Bielby, G., Purdon, S., Agur, M., Gardiner, C., George, N., Golden, S. and Taylor, E. (2009) Empowering Young People Pilots (EYPP) Evaluation, Final Report. National Foundation for Educational Research.

  • Lewis-Charp, H. Hanh C.Y., Sengouvanh S. and Lacoe, J. (2003) Extending the Reach of Youth Development Through Civic Activism: Outcomes of the Youth Leadership for Development Initiative. Innovation Center for Community and Youth Development.

  • Eccles, J. and Appleton Gootman, J. Editors (2002) Community Programs to Promote Youth Development Committee on Community-Level Programs for Youth, National Research Council and Institute of Medicine. Washington, DC: National Academy Press.

  • Fullerton, D. And Burtney, E. (2010) Young People’s Health Community Based Approaches, A Rapid Review. Report to the Sexual Health Centre Cork. Insights Health and Social Research.

























  • Youth workers

  • Managers

  • Policy makers

  • Researchers



Assumptions underlie much of what we do

  • Assumptions underlie much of what we do

  • Faulty assumptions are often the reason for poor results – e.g. ‘process is all there is’

  • Evidence helps us make our assumptions explicit so that we can check and test them: espoused versus theory-in-use

  • Reflective practice (Schön, 1983)

  • http://www.infed.org/thinkers/et-schon.htm



Trust versus command and control

  • Trust versus command and control

  • Monitoring and reporting versus support, training and development

  • Creating spaces for reflection

  • Promoting a culture of evidence

  • Underpinning own practice with evidence





Providing policy makers with usable ideas and information that addresses current imperatives

    • Providing policy makers with usable ideas and information that addresses current imperatives
    • Developing user friendly frameworks and tools to evaluate the process and the outcomes
    • Collaborating with practitioners in addressing pressing issues and problems
    • Offering a critical and objective view that addresses the realities of practice







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