The Evidence Portal

How are we building the evidence base?

The role of the Evidence Portal

The Evidence Portal is a publicly available website built to support the human services sector to easily access and use research evidence about what works to improve client outcomes.  See About the Portal for more information.

In time, the Portal will be a one-stop-shop for the sector to find information on programs and approaches they can potentially fund, commission and/or implement in their local communities.

See What are evidence-informed programs and how do I use them? for more information. 

The Core Components Approach

There are lots of reasons organisations might not want to implement an "off the shelf" evidence-informed program, including:

  • They already deliver a program that looks like it works for their clients
  • They do not have the funding available to purchase and sustain such a program
  • Existing evidence-informed programs have never been evaluated with their client group (e.g. Aboriginal people, culturally and linguistically diverse clients).

To help to address this, the Evidence Portal includes the Core Components Approach. 

Core Components are the common components of evidence-informed programs seeking to achieve positive outcomes for clients (e.g. prevention programs which keep kids safe with their families). 

Designing a service using Core Components enables the adaption of services to the individual needs and wants of clients, as well as the local service setting, while ensuring work is still evidence-informed.

A Core Components approach finds a balance between ensuring programs are standardised to enable high-quality evaluations and program comparisons so we can build our evidence base, but also flexible and tailored to the individual circumstances of clients and local contexts (Chorpita et al. 2005Knight et al. 2018Knight et al. 2017Barth et al. 2012).

See Using a core components approach for further information.

Identifying emerging evidence

The Core Components approach and Evidence Portal technical specifications include only the following evidence:

  • Systematic reviews (with or without meta-analyses)
  • Randomised Control Trials (RCTs)
  • Quasi-Experimental Designs (QEDs)
  • Dismantling Studies.

We recognise that this high threshold for evidence, whilst important, may also exclude useful and meaningful evidence about what works with families and communities in NSW.  The Evidence Portal will therefore also include other evidence, and where included, the strength of evidence rating will be noted.

The Cultural Safety and Wellbeing Evidence Review on the Evidence Portal is an example of this approach.

Identifying emerging programs

The Evidence Portal provides an avenue to identify and share emerging locally developed programs. 

Not all organisations have the resources or capacity to evaluate their programs and have those evaluations written up in academic journals that make up the formal evidence base.

We need to work with local organisations to document and evaluate the services and activities they provide in their communities to build the evidence base of what works. This will include evaluating the work of organisations who have adopted a core components approach (as described above). 

In time, we will develop a process to identify emerging programs for inclusion in the Evidence Portal. This may include establishing a set of criteria for establishing whether the program is evidence-informed.  For example:

  • A strong theoretical or research background
  • A strong program logic with clear theory of change
  • Evidence-informed core components or activities
  • A program manual/documentation
  • Qualified facilitators
  • Program evaluation
Last updated:

08 Apr 2022

Was this content useful?
We will use your rating to help improve the site.
Please don't include personal or financial information here
Please don't include personal or financial information here

We acknowledge Aboriginal people as the First Nations Peoples of NSW and pay our respects to Elders past, present, and future. 

Informed by lessons of the past, Department of Communities and Justice is improving how we work with Aboriginal people and communities. We listen and learn from the knowledge, strength and resilience of Stolen Generations Survivors, Aboriginal Elders and Aboriginal communities.

You can access our apology to the Stolen Generations.

Top Return to top of page Top