What Works for Research Use

What works in enabledit 075ing research use in decision making in policy and practice?
The What Works Centre for Wellbeing has partnered with the Wellcome Trust,  the Alliance for Useful Evidence and the EPPI-Centre at UCL to understand how research evidence can best be used in decision-making.

Good policy is based on

  • evidence – the development and use of a sound evidence base
  • politics – understanding and management of the political context
  • delivery – planning and clarity, right from the outset, as to how the policy will be delivered

This study, and the What Works Centres, are focused on better development and use of a sound evidence base in government policy and other decision making. This project is intended to develop the evidence base for how we can do the evidence part of good policy effectively.

using evidence

→ Summaryslide1

→Poster (from PHE conference)

→Full report


The study identified six types of activity used to support evidence informed decision making and looked at the evidence based that underpins them.  The study team then looked at what other social science research suggests could be promising for supporting evidence informed decision making.

reserach uptake diagram

We are reviewing our plans and theory of change as a result of this study working with the wider What Works Network some of whom are doing trials in this area.  We hope that these insights prove useful more widely and add to the evidence base in the field. 

This project included:

  1. Two reviews by the EPPI-Centre
    1. a systematic review (a review of reviews) of this new field of research use
    2. a scoping review of what the wider social science literature tells us about the mechanisms for the use of research evidence in decision-making
  2. a summary policy report with the key findings with discussion and case studies by the Alliance for Useful Evidence
  3. a conference to explore what approaches work in enabling the use of research by policy makers, practitioners and members of the public in April 2016

For more info, questions and share ideas – email  info@whatworkswellbeing.org

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