Unit 1 What are Evidence Cafés

Introduction

Sometimes, problems can occur when translating research evidence or data into practice (Kitson, 1998). For example, research might find that there are issues associated with migration, but researchers might then struggle to identify the practical solutions to solve those issues in different contexts. Increasingly there is a drive towards evidence-based practice which requires a more balanced and participatory approach between academics and practitioners (Lum, 2014). The aim is to enable an equitable exchange between those with research-based evidence and practitioners in order to strengthen people's practice

An Evidence Café is an effective way of collecting different views on different types of evidence for a complex topic. Evidence Cafés were developed by academics at The Open University and can be characterised as a ‘means to enable knowledge exchange, and evaluate their effectiveness in bridging the gap between research- and practice-based evidence’ (Clough and Adams, 2020, pp. 221). They support participants to explore how research might inform their practice and give academics practice-based insights on the research from practitioners (Clough and Adams, 2017; 2020). They have been applied in lots of different contexts such as police forces, schooling and government, and in different international contexts such as Northern Ireland, Myanmar, Europe, Africa and Asia. They have been used to explore topics such as organisational learning, policy making and gap analysis.

1.1 Origins of Evidence Cafés