What is an evidence review?

What can you learn from the work of others? In any evaluation, the first step should be to find out what other evaluation and research can tell you about the likely impacts of a project like yours.

An evidence review summarises the available evidence, revealing what is known about the impacts, outcomes and delivery of similar projects. It should also tell you about what is still not known, or difficult to establish. This is all critical information for evaluation planning. It will help you to decide what to evaluate and what approach might be appropriate. It may also be useful in planning the project itself.  Crucially for an arts and health evaluator with limited resources and time, an evidence review may identify research which – if relevant – can then be used to support or illuminate limited, but promising findings from a smaller scale evaluation.