Implementing policies and programs well requires good quality evidence to inform focus, find ways to improve, and increase use of effective practices and products. Good quality evidence includes unbiased results from data analyses and program evaluations, research, and well-designed trials and pilots. It is not enough to produce good evidence, however. Evidence must also be communicated successfully to key evidence users in a timely manner so they have it when they need it. Evidence users must be aware of and able to find, access, understand, accurately interpret, and appropriately absorb and apply evidence.
In this brief, we discuss the different ways in which evidence can be communicated to different types of users and the importance of evidence being timely, readily available, and comprehensible. We explore the challenges and opportunities that government agencies and practitioners face in communicating evidence to ensure that it is absorbed and used appropriately.