Mapping the Standards of Evidence Used in UK Social Policy

We all know that evidence is vital if good decisions are to be made. Yet evidence can be lacking, there can be confusion about what evidence looks like, or there can be different types of evidence making it unclear how confident we can be in what the data is saying. This is where standards of evidence come in.

Over the past decade, there has been a growing interest in standards of evidence, and other frameworks that help us understand what is working, and what isn’t, by grading effectiveness or impact against a scale or level. Typically, the lower levels indicate that there is some evidence, and as the scale or level is ascended, more evidence is available to increase confidence in deciding whether the intervention or practice is working.

This report maps the 18 standards of evidence currently used in UK social policy. It is intended to help all of us - innovators, commissioners, providers, policymakers, services users, and practitioners – navigate the field and understand where standards of evidence exist, what they do, similarities between them, and where they differ.

See Ruth Puttick's blog introducing our report

Download the full report (pdf)


Ruth Puttick

Ruth Puttick

Ruth Puttick

Principal Researcher - Public and Social Innovation

Ruth was Principal Researcher for public and social innovation. Ruth joined the Nesta policy and research team in 2009, working on a range of projects across innovation, investment and…

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