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  • EVIDENCE
    TRAINING

    Explore three different types of evidence: research, contextual, and experiential and earn continuing education credits for completing this training.

    RESOURCES

    Investigate these resources for information on finding best available research evidence and collecting contextual and experiential evidence.

    CONTINUUM

    Use this tool to help you gauge the research strength behind a program, practice, or policy you are considering to use in your community.

    QUOTE HERE
    When somebody on staff asks what we should do to address a problem, the first questions I now ask are ‘What does the research say? What is the evidence base? What information can we gather to determine if it will fit in different contexts?’ It’s become a way of life.
    — Jim Hmurovich, President and CEO of Prevent Child Abuse America
  • 1. Introduction

    Begin

    When you make a decision, you often do research, consider your situation and learn from others. When you collect this information systemically and in a way that is credible, replicable and verifiable, you are using evidence based decision-making. Take this first module to learn more about evidence based decision-making and to unlock additional modules about different types of evidence.

    2. BEST AVAILABLE RESEARCH EVIDENCEArrow Link



    QUOTE HERE
    When somebody on staff asks what we should do to address a problem, the first questions I now ask are ‘What does the research say? What is the evidence base? What information can we gather to determine if it will fit in different contexts?’ It’s become a way of life.
    — Jim Hmurovich, President and CEO of Prevent Child Abuse America
  • 2. BEST AVAILABLE RESEARCH EVIDENCE

    Video

    If you know how to recognize the strength of the research evidence across key dimensions, you will be better prepared to determine whether or not a prevention program, practice, or policy is actually achieving its intended outcomes.

    3. EXPERIENTIAL EVIDENCEArrow Link



    QUOTE HERE
    You have to go the literature, you want to look for studies, you want to weight studies more heavily if they used rigorous designs, randomized trials, and so forth. The nice thing is, now there are a number of rating systems, really organizations around the country that have rating systems and they rate all sorts of programs on whether they’re effective.
    — Daniel Whitaker, Professor of Public Health at Georgia State University
  • 3. EXPERIENTIAL EVIDENCE

    Video

    Your insights, understanding, skills and expertise are accumulated over time and are valuable tools for decision-making. But don’t stop at your own experience. To collect experiential evidence, you must tap into the experiences and expertise of multiple stakeholders.

    4. CONTEXTUAL EVIDENCEArrow Link



    QUOTE HERE
    People already know within themselves what the problem is . . . what it is they need and really knowing what their needs are rather than 'I'm going to help you because this is what you need.' Instead, 'How can I help you? What can I do for you?' What is it that will make you more comfortable to work with them? So I think the bottom line is being open-minded to what you're going to receive from the people.
    — Angelita Lee, Case Manager, Johns Hopkins Center for American Indian Health
  • 4. CONTEXTUAL EVIDENCE

    Video

    Contextual evidence tells you about the characteristics of your community that may impact the success of a prevention strategy. Learn more about how to obtain and use contextual evidence for decision-making.

    5. CONCLUSIONArrow Link



    QUOTE HERE
    When a group is considering taking on a new, evidence-based or evidence-informed strategy, we always have to take a close look at the staff and resources they have on hand. We also recommend they collect information on their community’s needs and assets that could affect the success of any new strategy.
    — Valerie Spiva Collins, MS Ed, DHSc, Training & Technical Assistance Supervisor, FRIENDS National Resource Center
  • 5. CONCLUSION

    Video

    Learn more about evidence based decision-making through the various tools and resources available on this site.

    FREE CONTINUING
    EDUCATION CREDITSArrow Link

    CONTINUUMArrow Link

    WHAT'S NEXTArrow Link

    EVIDENCE
    DISCOVER MORE GET STARTED

    Now that you've completed the
    training, check out these features.
    Free Continuing Education Credits
    FREE CONTINUING
    EDUCATION CREDITS
    Now that you have completed all the learning modules, you are eligible for free continuing education credits
    through the CDC.
    What's Next
    WHAT'S NEXT
    Customized by your profile and your experience in the Learning Modules, What's Next is personalized to help you with your next steps.
    Continuum
    CONTINUUM
    This tool will help you gauge the strength of best available research evidence you may be considering.
  • Spivak

    Juliette Mackin, PhD

    Senior Research Associate
    NPC Research

    00:00/00:00

    Why is it important to also include contextual evidence and experiential evidence in evidence based decision-making?


    It's important for program practitioners to understand the range of different resources that are available to them, that looking at best practices, or best available research evidence, can give them one set of information, and that's a set of information that's crucial and that they should be looking at, but that it's very important to look at the experiential and contextual evidence that's available, that they seek out people in the community who can give them information about what their experience is, in helping to implement certain types of services.

    Video
    Best Available. Contextual. Experiential. 3 Types of Evidence

    The resources and tools below will help you on your evidence based decision-making journey.

    EVIDENCE
    Video Section

    LESSON SEGMENTS & VIDEOS

    Need more information on one of the three types of evidence in the evidence based decision-making framework? Directly access individual modules- Best available research evidence, contextual evidence, or experiential evidence.

    Video Section

    CASE STUDIES

    Watch an example of how an organization can work through the evidence based decision-making process when considering a strategy for their community.

    Video Section

    MODULE SUMMARIES

    Want a reminder of what you’ve learned? You can download or print these summaries for each of the learning modules.

    Video Section

    RESOURCES FOR FINDING AND COLLECTING EVIDENCE

    Investigate these resources for additional information on finding best available research evidence and collecting contextual and experiential evidence.

    Show glossary
    Video Section
    Show glossary
    Video Section

    See more of what the experts had to say about Evidence Based Decision-Making. You can also find some of these quotes placed around the site for you to discover as you explore.

    Audio Quotes

    Text Quotes

  • Spivak

    Valerie Spiva Collins, MS Ed, DHSc

    Training & Technical Assistance Supervisor
    FRIENDS National Resource Center

    00:00/00:00

    What do you do if you can't find an evidence based program, practice or policy that fits your needs?


    I think sometimes it is the case that people want to create certain change, and they can't find an evidence-based model that meets what they want to do. That happens a lot. So I think that what people can do then, is a couple of things. One, sometimes they will adopt an evidence-based model that gets them somewhat close, but then they have to do some other things as well. Other times they may decide to look at what those protective factors are that the research says really help families. So, a lot of times it's good for them just to go back to the foundation, the core, and so programs can go back to that kind of protective factor and outcome related to it. I think, sometimes to develop or to adopt a model or a program that might help them to get to where they want to be.



    FAQ


    1. WHAT IS EVIDENCE?

    Evidence is defined in many different ways. When we think about evidence based decision-making in particular, evidence is defined as information or facts that are systematically obtained (i.e., obtained in a manner that is replicable, observable, credible and verifiable) for use in making judgments or decisions (adapted from Rycroft-Malone et al, 2004 & Brownson et al., 2009). This definition of evidence applies to best available research evidence as well as contextual and experiential evidence.

    2. WHAT IS BEST AVAILABLE RESEARCH EVIDENCE?

    Best available research evidence is information that enables researchers, practitioners and policy-makers to determine whether or not a prevention program, practice or policy is actually achieving its intended outcomes. Best available research evidence can also help to determine whether or not a prevention strategy is harmful. The more rigorous a study (e.g. true/quasi-experimental design, independent replication), the more compelling the research evidence is indicating whether or not a program, practice or policy is effectively preventing violence. The extent to which a prevention strategy has been replicated in multiple, applied settings with diverse populations (external/ecological validity), and the availability and accessibility of implementation supports (implementation guidance) are also important aspects of best available research evidence.

    3. WHERE CAN YOU FIND BEST AVAILABLE RESEARCH EVIDENCE?

    Registries of evidence-based programs are the best place to start when looking to find programs based on the best available research evidence. Technical assistance resource centers, which are typically tailored toward a particular area of violence prevention, also provide a variety of different resources for identifying prevention strategies based on the best available research evidence. In circumstances when there is very little research evidence on effective prevention strategies, technical assistance resource centers can also be very helpful. Technical assistance resource centers may aid in identifying known risk and protective factors and sound theories of change for your area of violence to guide your programmatic efforts as well as resources for evaluating them. A list of these registries and technical assistance resource centers can be found in the resource section.

    4. WHAT IS EXPERIENTIAL EVIDENCE?

    Experiential evidence is the collective experience and expertise of those who have practiced or lived in a particular setting. It also includes the knowledge of subject matter experts. These insights, understandings, skills, and expertise are accumulated over time and are often referred to as intuitive or tacit knowledge. Experiential evidence is systematically gathered from multiple stakeholders who are familiar with a variety of key aspects about specific settings, and who have knowledge about the community in which a prevention strategy is to be implemented (i.e., knowledge about what has/has not worked previously in a specific setting with particular populations; insight into potential implementation challenges; insight regarding the needs and challenges of the community and those who live in it).

    5. WHERE CAN YOU FIND EXPERIENTIAL EVIDENCE?

    Experiential evidence is unique in that it must be intentionally and systematically elicited from a diverse array of key stakeholders in response to a particular decision-making situation. Some examples of data sources and methods for gathering experiential evidence include: reflective questions, communities of practice, expert panels, and team decision-making and other consensus processes.

    6. WHAT IS CONTEXTUAL EVIDENCE?

    Contextual evidence is a collection of measurable factors in the community that may impact the success of a prevention strategy (e.g., community history, organizational capacity, social norms, etc.). The role that contextual evidence plays in the evidence based decision-making process is to provide information to help determine whether a prevention strategy is likely to be acceptable, feasible, and useful in a local setting. Contextual evidence can be gathered from a variety of local data sources and offers a “snapshot” of measurable community characteristics that may impact a particular decision. Some examples of data sources and methods for collecting contextual evidence include: census data, local administrative data (hospital, school, and law enforcement), community needs/assets assessments, surveys, and focus groups/interviews.

    7. WHERE CAN YOU FIND CONTEXTUAL EVIDENCE?

    Information on contextual factors that are relevant to your decision (contextual evidence) can be gathered from existing sources of data such as census data or administrative data (e.g. school records, hospital data, law enforcement data). New data on context can also be gathered through surveys, community assessments, focus groups, and interviews.

    8. WHY IS IT IMPORTANT TO INCLUDE BEST AVAILABLE RESEARCH EVIDENCE, EXPERIENTIAL EVIDENCE, AND CONTEXTUAL EVIDENCE WHEN MAKING DECISIONS ABOUT PREVENTION?

    The goal of evidence based decision-making is to bring a high standard of research evidence into the decision-making process while taking into account the contextual and experiential factors that influence decisions for prevention.

    9. WHAT MAKES UNDERSTANDING EVIDENCE UNIQUE?

    Understanding Evidence is the first online tool of its kind. This free, online resource offers local practitioners and others working to prevent violence knowledge and resources for using evidence in their decision-making processes.

    10. WHY WAS THIS TOOL DEVELOPED?

    Understanding Evidence is meant to support critical thinking skills in practitioners to help them make evidence-informed decisions around violence prevention.


    Specifically, upon completion of Understanding Evidence the learner will be able to:


    1. define the three types of evidence involved in evidence based decision-making;
    2. identify standards of rigor across the key dimensions that make up the best available research evidence;
    3. identify sources of and ways to collect best available research evidence, contextual evidence, and experiential evidence; and
    4. identify key stages and characteristics of an evidence based decision-making process.

    11. WHO IS THE INTENDED AUDIENCE FOR THIS COURSE?

    Understanding Evidence is designed primarily for violence prevention practitioners, but anyone working to prevent violence in their communities will find the information useful including CDC grantees, researchers, program evaluators, technical assistance providers, and decision-makers.

    12. HOW DO I RECEIVE FREE CONTINUING EDUCATION CREDITS?

    To obtain continuing education credits for Understanding Evidence, you must complete all the lesson modules. However, you can review the content in any order you wish. A progress bar at the top of the screen will keep track of the modules you have reviewed on an ongoing basis so that you can monitor your overall progress. After you finish all four modules, you will be linked directly to CDC’s Training and Continuing Education online system. Here you will register to receive a certificate of completion for continuing education credits. There is no cost to you for receiving continuing education credits for Understanding Evidence.