Unit 3 The Evidence Pyramid

Introduction

In this Unit, you will be introduced to the concept of the Evidence Pyramid and how it can help facilitate knowledge exchange during a migration Evidence Café. But first, for an Evidence Café to be effectively completed we must understand what evidence we are using, who has it and how effective that evidence is in answering our questions. It is therefore key to an effective Evidence Café to identify the level of evidence required to answer our questions and what level of evidence we already have.

People use the word ‘knowledge’ very loosely: ‘I have a lot of knowledge about migration’. But the term itself has been the debate of philosophers through to theorists for centuries. Whilst it is a key driver for research and knowledge bases, the drive for theoretically-based knowledge within practical contexts is less clear, as it is often seen as detached from real-world application. But how do we create knowledge from the data we collect and how is this related to information?

Evidence from different types of sources (e.g. media stories, expert reports, policies and research) can be classified into three levels of analysis:

  • Data – raw data without meaning, e.g. numbers, words.
  • Information – data with attached meaning for ‘who, what, where’.
  • Knowledge – information with insight, know-how for ‘why and how’ it can be used.

3.1 Evidence typologies