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Miniguide: Understanding evidence

How do I begin to make sense of what I have found?

Once you have found evidence some questions arise. Thinking about these questions can help you consider the implications of the evidence for addressing your knowledge problem.

You might ask yourself:

  • Is this piece of evidence relevant?
    • Does the evidence you have found relates to your knowledge problem?
    • Are the findings relevant to your work context?
    • Is it reasonable to apply them to your situation (think about the stated purpose and context of the research)?
  • How can I trust the claims made? – this is central to beginning to make sense of the evidence you have found. Answering this question means making a judgement about the quality and validity of the evidence.

Judging quality is anything but straightforward. Evidence itself is rarely 'good' or 'bad'. Its 'quality' often depends on what use you want to put the evidence to – the context of use is usually the deciding factor.

Ask yourself "Is this evidence 'good enough' for my particular purpose?"






Things to think about

Useful tips

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  at the Institute of Education, London as part of its development of the wider European EIPPEE portal