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What’s wrong with theories of change?

Chief Executive of Nesta, Geoff Mulgan questions the popularity of the term 'theory of change' and suggests that it can encourage too simplistic an understanding of why change occurs. In this blog, he scrutinises and deconstructs the terminology, and argues for a greater focus on the concept itself, ensuring that 'theories of change' reflect the levels of social challenges and complexities, and allow for crucial learning and adaptation.

Reflections on Brexit and the evidence ecosystem

Alliance for Useful Evidence Wales Lead, Helen Cunningham offers a round up of Brexit blogs and reflections on implications for the evidence ecosystem. She also offers her own analysis of post-Brexit shifts in British politics and society; highlighting the need to question inconvenient truths about underlying frustrations across the country, and dwindling trust in politics.

Evidence is a journey. Should it lead to proving or improving?

If you view gathering evidence as simply a means of demonstrating outcomes, you're missing a trick. It's most valuable when part of a journey of iterative improvement, writes Frances Flaxington, Strategic Director for Catch 22. In this blog, she uses the example of their Realising Ambition programme, which helps young people to avoid pathways to demonstrate the messiness of evidence use, as well as its invaluable ability to support service delivery refinement and adaptation.

After the EU Referendum – What next for UK social science?

How will Britain's departure from the EU affect our social sciences, ask Ashley Lenihan and Sharon Witherspoon from the Academy of Social Sciences and its Campaign for Social Science. In this blog, they discuss some of the practical and more direct implications for UK Social Sciences funding, attracting international talent, job creation, and forging global collaborations.

Reality check: evidence-informed policymaking in resource constrained settings

Programme Manager for Evidence-Informed Policy Making at INASP, Emily Hayter highlights some fundamental challenges faced by African policymakers when it comes to using research, based on the experiences of participants in the VakaYiko programme. These must be addressed by those wishing to build capacity for civil servants and parliamentarians in these countries to make better use of research - which a new INASP toolkit seeks to do.

Deepening interactions between academia and the third sector

Jenny Brotchie, Carnegie UK Trust Policy Officer, argues that to increase the impact of research we need practical actions to link academia and the third sector. In this blog she makes the case for more cross-sector collaboration and behaviour change, in order to better connect academic evidence and research to practice 'on the ground' in the third sector.

How can we build stronger partnerships in the health and care system?

A new NPC evidence review highlights the value of the voluntary and community sector to the health and care system. But the evidence alone won't be enough to ensure that these important services continue to reach everyone who needs them, writes Charlotte Augst (Richmond Group of Charities).

ONS looks to social media for census data

The ONS is piloting the use of new data sources such as social media in the census, writes Jason Leavey. But don't expect changes to be implemented anytime soon. In this blog, he argues the value of wider and more non-traditional data sources and their ability to potentially positively impact citizen engagement and access to information, whilst decreasing public expenditure.

Your chance to judge the Government’s evidence on GM, smart cities and driverless cars

Martin Smith (Specialist, House of Commons Science and Technology Committee) invites you to check the evidence behind three new policy areas announced today. In this blog, he advocates a more participatory model of policy development, in which government is open to more transparent decision-making, and receptive to public scrutiny and input through a more iterative process.

The Human Factor: who makes policy and how?

Dr Kathryn Oliver (University of Oxford) argues that we need a clearer understanding of who is already influencing policy, and how, if we want to increase the role of academic evidence in policymaking.

DRIVE: An opportunity to strengthen the evidence base

Howard White (Campbell Collaboration) examines whether DRIVE, an Intimate Partner Violence programme being piloted in the UK, will be conducted in a way that will generate useful and much-needed evidence.

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