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What is evidence-informed practice (EIP)?

‘Evidence-informed practice’ (EIP) refers to a particular methodology used in the design, delivery and evaluation of social care services.

An evidence-informed approach draws on information from research and academic studies, bringing it together with the expertise and wisdom from practice and the views and experiences of people accessing services.

It considers the evidence from these three sources alongside each other and gives a rich insight into key issues to inform decision-making and enable effective practice.

This gives leaders, managers and practitioners the confidence to make decisions that are grounded in the evidence of what is known to work.

EIP is distinct and different to ‘evidence-based’ approaches, which only reference evidence from academic research.


Image: the evidence triangle

‘Evidence needs to be fit for purpose as well as scientifically robust. We use the concept of evidence-informed practice, meaning the triangulation of evidence undertaken by professional researchers, the views and experience of service users and practitioner wisdom and experience. Other types of evidence may be relevant too, the important point here is triangulation. Whilst single sources of information in isolation can be misleading, scaffolding knowledge by bringing together different sources of information can help distinguish myths, ideologies and preferences from things that have some basis in evidence.

‘This approach is also about supporting practitioners and commissioners to become more confident in using and generating new evidence. We need to develop a sector in which practitioners across disciplines are active agents in evidence; research literate, critically curious, hungry for knowledge and supported to generate new evidence to fill gaps and improve the quality of evidence available overall.  This requires organisational leadership, role-modelling from management, support and permission for practitioners to engage with evidence as part of the day-job, and for their knowledge – and that of families – to be respected.’

Dez Holmes,
Director, Research in Practice and Research in Practice for Adults

More information on evidence-informed practice: The Myth of Evidence-Based Practice: Towards Evidence-Informed Practice.


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