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Unit 6 Understanding Evidence Cafés

Introduction

As we have seen, a core principle for Evidence Cafés is to have equitable two-way exchange of understanding (rather than a one-way transfer of evidence). This means we need to allow time and space for the voices from multiple perspectives to be equally heard and recognised. To achieve this, we need to clearly map out what voices there are in any domain of practice and research.

6.1 Understanding Evidence Cafés: migration, stakeholders and evidence

Evidence Cafés support equitable communication, focused on good quality evidence that is research- and practice-based. The Evidence Café process supports evidence from different contexts, helping to combine them and resulting in sustainable, significant and scalable impact for both practice and research. However, barriers to this can arise when there are conflicting motivations from practice and academia, especially when certain stakeholders have more power and authority to effect change. For migration issues these are significant problems, since the issues relate strongly to current government/local policies and decision making. However, without support for different stakeholders in developing a joint understanding and common goals, there will continue to be decisions made based upon poor migration evidence and a lack of research into relevant migration issues. Table 6.1 gives a review of Evidence Café roles, artefacts and activities:

Table 6.1: Roles, artefacts and activities during an Evidence Café (Clough and Adams, 2020)

Key Roles and artefacts

Activities during the Evidence Café

Research Champion (RC)

Introduce: Evidence Café (jointly with EBC) explaining how the EC will run

Facilitate discussions and use of discussion object for reflective meaning-making

Facilitate feedback roundup session

Record activities and discussions for final report and collect research data (optional)

Evidence-based Champion (EBC)

Introduce Evidence Café (jointly with RC) Contextualise the research topic in terms that are relevant to practice

Facilitate discussions and use of discussion object for reflective meaning making

Facilitate feedback roundup session

Academic Expert

Present research

Facilitate use of discussion object for reflective meaning making

Facilitate feedback roundup session

Collect data (optional)

Participants

Discuss topic offering personal experience facilitated by discussion in groups

Feedback to whole group

Discussion object artefact

Triggers discussion and meaning making amongst participants

6.2 Setting up an Evidence Café

An Evidence Café is usually initiated by the host organisation and is coordinated by the evidence café champion who acts as the main point of contact between the host organisation and academic(s). In the video in Unit 2.1 of the course this was Sophie, however Evidence Cafés have been adapted to be developed by multiple organisations. The key driver should be to incorporate equity in the exchange. Evidence Cafés depend on academic and practitioners’ availability, so plan as far in advance as possible. Ideally you should try to give at least two to three months’ notice, but if that’s not possible, three weeks minimum. Finally, it is important to ensure that the process supports informal communication, which often means hosting the event in a café space or informal community area.

For more specific guidance around the whole Evidence Café process download the free brochure.

Activity 6.1 Setting up an Evidence Café

Timing: Allow 30 minutes

  1. When writing an invite to an Evidence Café list the details that you should include
  2. Now write an invitation for an Evidence (it should be no more than 200–500 words)

An invitation letter should include briefly what an Evidence Café is, why the participant has been invited, the venue for the café, and how much time it will take.

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One of the first things to do when planning an Evidence Café is to work out who the key stakeholders are and what their interests are and what types of evidence they may use. It is important that you get the right voices together to make the knowledge exchange productive. This is what we saw happening in the video in Section 2.1, to which we now return.

6.3 Actors and scenarios

In the next activity you will return to the video you watched in Section 2.1. In this migration discussion we have five voices which we have now detailed below. The next activity will show you whether you can identify who each voice is.

Activity 6.2 Stakeholder interests and identities

Timing: Allow 20 minutes

There are two parts to this activity.

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Part 2

Based on what you have learned throughout the course and from rewatching Video 2.1, match the name of the Evidence Café participant to their stakeholder role.

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Discussion

This activity reveals the importance of trying to understand the contexts that Evidence Café participants come from, their various interests and their perspectives on – in this case – migration. There are likely to be as many perspectives as there are participants, but an Evidence Café helps to make these perspectives clear and structures related evidence, allowing you to co-create knowledge that can better shape practice. Because of these multiple perspectives it is important that as Evidence Café organisers and champions, you don’t pre-judge people or assume that a particular role necessarily leads to a specific perspective. It is this sensitivity to the multiple roles and contexts in which Evidence Café participants work that is critical when you plan and take on champion roles for an Evidence Café.

Summary

This Unit has given you the opportunity to listen to part of an Evidence Café discussion. Stakeholders in this scenario are important to the issue being discussed (in this case, migration) and will vary based on your organisation, domain of practice or research. A successful Evidence Café requires equitable communication amongst participants. Remember, a core principle for Evidence Cafés is to have equitable two-way exchange of understanding rather than a one-way transfer of evidence.

Unit learning outcomes

  • This Unit has developed your understanding of what an Evidence Café ‘looks’ and ‘sounds’ like in practice.
  • Building on evidence typology in Unit 5, you should be able to identify the different types of evidence highlighted in Video 2.1.
  • You now understand the importance of having the right stakeholders (voices) in your domain if you were to arrange an Evidence Café.
  • You have reflected on the importance of equitable communications (making sure every voice is heard).

Next move onto the End-of-course quiz  to test your knowledge of Evidence Cafés before moving on to the End-of-course survey.

Acknowledgements

Acknowledgements

Grateful acknowledgement is made to the following sources:

Every effort has been made to contact copyright holders. If any have been inadvertently overlooked the publishers will be pleased to make the necessary arrangements at the first opportunity.

Important: *** against any of the acknowledgements below means that the wording has been dictated by the rights holder/publisher, and cannot be changed.

Course image: rawpixel/123RF

Sharing Knowledge: Bryan Mathers of Visual Thinkery This file is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic (CC BY 2.0) license, https://creativecommons.org/ licenses/ by/ 2.0/

Professor Anne Adams: Professor Anne Adams

Professor Giles Mohan: Professor Giles Mohan

Abiola-George: Abiola-George

Dr. Linda Adhiambo Oucho: Dr. Linda Adhiambo Oucho

Natalie Chimwemwe Chaponda: Natalie Chimwemwe Chaponda

Omolola Olarinde: Omolola Olarinde

Felicity Okoth: Felicity Okoth

Meeting around table: Weekend Images Inc. / iStock / Getty Images Plus

Figure 1.1: Café Científic Sabadell 2014 (cafescientifique.org)

Hands together: rawpixel/123RF

Meeting: nd3000 / 123RF

Empire Windrush UK: Contraband Collection / Alamy Stock Photo

Migration Kenya: Image by MAMADOU TRAORE from Pixabay

Video 2.1: With thanks for their contributions: Giles Mohan, Anne Adams, Abiola George, Linda Oucho, Natalie Chimwemwe

Stones: Photo by Jeremy Thomas on Unsplash

Evidence Cafés: A how-to guide: Clough, G. and Adams A. (2017). Evidence Cafés: A how-to guide. The Open University, Milton Keynes. All images: Copyright Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0) by Gill Clough, https://creativecommons.org/ licenses/ by/ 4.0/

Fingerprint scanner: Chaikom / Shutterstock

Airport: Photo by Suganth on Unsplash

Presentation print out on table: rawpixel / 123RF

Activity 5.1: Photographs supplied by Professor Anne Adams

Section 5.3: Photograph supplied by Professor Anne Adams

Evidence Cafés: Overcoming conflicting motivations and timings: Clough, G. and Adams, A. (2020) ‘Evidence Cafés: Overcoming conflicting motivations and timings’. Research for All, 4 (2), 220–41. Online. https://doi.org/ 10.14324/ RFA.04.2.07 An open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution Licence (CC BY) 4.0 https://creativecommons.org/ licenses/ by/ 4.0/

Meeting: Photo by Christina @ wocintechchat.com on Unsplash

Table 6.1: Evidence Cafés: Overcoming conflicting motivations and timings: Clough, G. and Adams, A. (2020) ‘Evidence Cafés: Overcoming conflicting motivations and timings’. Research for All, 4 (2), 220–41. Online. https://doi.org/ 10.14324/ RFA.04.2.07 An open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution Licence (CC BY) 4.0 https://creativecommons.org/ licenses/ by/ 4.0/

Meeting post-it notes on wall: Photo by Leon on Unsplash

Video 2.1: With thanks for their contributions: Giles Mohan, Anne Adams, Abiola George, Linda Oucho, Natalie Chimwemwe