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What is evidence in the TEI program?

Evidence is information that is used to support a claim or belief.

The Targeted Earlier Intervention program uses three different types of evidence to inform decision making:

  • research evidence and data:
    • information that is systematically collected through established research methods
    • it comes from a range of sources, e.g. academic journal articles and published literature, analysis of statistics and data, and reports from government and non-government organisations
    • it can be qualitative or quantitative
  • lived experience and client voice, and community knowledge:
    • the views of children, young people, families and communities
    • day-to-day feedback from people using your service
    • information collected through surveys, interviews and focus groups with clients
    • community knowledge about a key group or community that can influence service design and delivery (e.g. knowledge of culture and values
  • practitioner expertise:
    • clinical and subject matter expertise, insight and skills developed over many years

Different types of research evidence

There are many different types of research evidence you can use in your work.

The most reliable (well tested) types of research evidence are:

  1. meta-analyses - combine the results of many studies of the same program into a single evaluation
  2. systematic reviews - summarise and synthesise the findings of multiple studies
  3. randomised-controlled trials (RCTs) – compare people receiving a service (treatment group) to people who do not receive a service (control group) to see if there is a significant difference in their outcomes. RCTs randomly assign participants to a treatment group or control group. This means they can better control for factors that might influence a person’s outcomes. This is the best way to understand the impact of a program.
  4. quasi-experimental studies – are similar to RCTs. They compare the outcomes of people who have received a service and people who haven’t. However, they don’t randomly allocate people to a treatment or control group.

Current limitations of research evidence

Unfortunately, this high-quality evidence is not always available for the activities our services provide. If you cannot find high-quality evidence, we encourage you to use other types of evidence, such as pre- and post-test studies and qualitative studies. However, it’s important to acknowledge the limitations of the research evidence you find.

Pre and post-test studies

  • Pre- and post-test studies collect data from participants before and after a service to monitor changes.
  • These studies can help us understand changes in client outcomes when there are no RCTs or quasi-experimental studies.
  • As they do not have a control group, they are not as reliable as an RCT. We cannot be sure changes are a direct result of services.
  • Changes may be due to other changes in the client’s life, natural changes in learning or development, or changes in the larger service system.

Qualitative studies

  • Qualitative studies provide valuable information about people’s experiences.
  • The findings may not represent the entire population you are interested in and they cannot measure effect.
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Last updated: 25 Jul 2022