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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
    • the views of children, young people, families and communities
    • day-to-day feedback from people using your service
    • this can be information collected through surveys, interviews and focus groups with clients.
    • it can also be information recorded in the Data Exchange
  • expertise and local knowledge
    • clinical and subject matter expertise, insight and skills developed over many years
    • information know about a target group or community that might influence service design and delivery (e.g. knowledge of culture and values

Different types of research evidence

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

The most reliable 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 have greater control over 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. As such, 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 to begin to understand the impacts of our services when there are no RCTs.
  • 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.

You can download a pdf of this information: Using Evidence in the Targeted Earlier Intervention Program

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Last updated: 30 Mar 2020