Evidence for Decision-Making

Results for Development works with change agents to improve the use of evidence in decision-making to strengthen systems and support healthy, educated people.

The Challenge

At Results for Development, we support country leaders to design and facilitate effective change processes that strengthen whole systems and achieve lasting, large-scale impact. And at every stage of the change process — from priority setting, to diagnosing the root causes of challenges, to co-creating and implementing solutions, to evaluating what is and isn’t working — evidence is critical.

Change agents who have the knowledge, skills, and organizational support to routinely access evidence when weighing options make better decisions. But there are many challenges to this, including:

  • Limited access to quality, timely, and relevant evidence
  • Lack of time, skills and knowledge for finding, synthesizing, and applying evidence
  • Limited organizational and institutional capacity to support routine use of evidence
  • Evidence that is hard to understand and relate to from their own experiences and context
  • Limited opportunities for evidence producers, translators and users to engage in co-creating research questions and making sense of the evidence

Our Approach

R4D’s approach to evidence informed decision-making centers country leaders and other change agents to improve how evidence is produced, translated and used. R4D supports change agents’ efforts to raise awareness of the value of using evidence, while also building skills, and developing processes, tools and guidelines to support the routine use of evidence in their respective country contexts.

  • We work across sectors taking an ecosystem approach that considers how the different actors in a system – decision-makers, knowledge brokers, researchers – interact.
  • We consider the skills, processes and institutional support they need to advance the use of evidence in decision-making.
  • We help connect partners with one another and co-create learning communities that are designed to facilitate collaboration and sharing of lessons and experiences, build conducive environments for evidence informed decision-making and support joint action in promoting equitable research partnerships.
  • We conduct research to contribute to the global understanding of knowledge translation – what it takes to get evidence into practice – examining both theory and practice, and documenting what we are sharing and learning along the way.
  • We draw on our deep expertise in health, education and nutrition and our understanding of knowledge translation to work with change agents around the world in getting evidence into practice.

Our Results

R4D conducted research on the critical role of evidence translators in informing policymaking decisions, culminating in the launch of the report: Evidence Translators’ Role in Evidence-Informed Policymaking. The report analyzed extensive primary data from two case studies in Argentina and Ghana as well as secondary data from five additional cases. The work revealed the critical role and key characteristics of successful evidence translators and highlighted important implications for policymakers, development partners, and researchers and intermediaries to ensure evidence is used to guide key policy decisions.

Then R4D brought together partners from 13 countries to learn from and support each other in promoting the use of research evidence in policymaking. Through the Partnership for Evidence and Equity in Responsive Social Systems (PEERSS) program, R4D supported 13 partners in drawing on a range of approaches and tools – including rapid syntheses of evidence, stakeholder dialogues and citizens’ panels – and building conducive environments to support decision makers in accessing the evidence they need to address key priorities. Key lessons were captured in a 4-part video series.

Watch the videos:

Global & Regional Initiatives

R4D is a globally recognized leader for designing initiatives that connect implementers, experts and funders across countries to build knowledge and get that knowledge into practice.