The paper ‘Getting to Grips with Evidence’ highlights challenges facing NGOs, and puts these in the context of wider debates about the use of evidence in policy-making and practice.Drawing on two webinars in May and June 2013, an online survey of practitioners, a literature review on evidence use, and discussions with practitioners and researchers throughout 2013, this paper explores issues surrounding the use of evidence by practitioners and offers ways in which practitioners can better engage with evidence in their own work.
The report picks-up on the growing concern amongst practitioners around how to gather, use and assess evidence better. Many NGOs are increasing in-house research capabilities, contracting consultants to carry out research work, or building partnerships with academic institutions for research projects. However, practitioners still seem to be struggling.
In line with this, the report proposes practical ways in which practitioners can engage better with evidence in their work, including how they can walk a line between evidence and experience. It encourages practitioners to improve how they use evidence in order to respond to some of the criticisms levelled at NGOs.