Developing tools to assess and label evidence for decision makers

Currently open:

Developing tools to assess and label evidence for decision makers (deadline 5th February 2018)


The Education Endowment Foundation (EEF), together with the College of Policing, are looking to commission work that supports both What Works Centres to assess and label primary research evidence and communicate the strength of research evidence supporting recommendations to practitioners. This work would focus on the recommendations made in the EEF guidance reports (available here) and the College of Policing guidance (see here). To date both Centres have used different approaches to assessing evidence to inform practitioner guidance with varying degrees of success. Many of the existing tools have been developed to assess medical research and are not well suited to assessing the mixed methods so prevalent in social research evidence. A piece of work is required to develop tools to assess the quality of quantitative and qualitative social research evidence and to rate the strength of a body of research evidence behind a recommendation.

Scope of work

Together the centres would like to commission work to:

1. Conduct a review to identify:

- existing tools designed to assess the quality of both quantitative and qualitative research evidence

- existing approaches to assessing and communicating the strength of research evidence supporting recommendations for practice

2. Pilot identified tools on example papers to determine whether they could be adopted or adapted for the efficient assessment of social research evidence

3. Ensure that there is sufficient granularity in the tool to allow differentiation in the assessment of social research (e.g. that groups of studies that fall short of the highest standards do not all receive the same ‘low’ rating)

4. Develop a standard and transparent mechanism(s) to assess and label the body of evidence supporting a recommendation, for use by the EEF and College of Policing


The deadline for proposals is 5th February 2018. We are looking to appoint a contractor to begin working as soon as possible and expect the work to be delivered as follows:

Review of existing tools:15th March 2018

Road testing of tools to determine suitability for social research:31st March 2018

Mechanism for assessment and labelling body of evidence:31st May 2018

Appointment process

If you would like to be considered to undertake the review, please send a brief outline describing your proposed approach. Please include an overview of your relevant skills andexperience, and an estimated budget. Proposals should be no more than 1,500 words.

We recognise that different aspects of this work may require different expertise, so are open to joint applications from multiple teams. We are open to applications from teams based outside of the UK. We will finalise the specification with the successful team and the final report will be peer reviewed prior to publication. There is a maximum of £60,000 available for this work. Please note the funds for this evaluation / research are from the EEF’s fundraising and investment income (i.e. a non-Government source) and that this research qualifies for HEFCE Charity Support Fund criteria.

If you have any questions, please contact Julia Morris

Please send your proposal to: Peter Henderson

All our published literature reviews are available to read here.