Research School Network: Using research Evidence- An Early Years Experience. Using research Evidence- An Early Years Experience.

Using research Evidence- An Early Years Experience.

Using research Evidence- An Early Years Experience.

by Unity Research School
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The East of England Early Years Stronger Practice Hub (SPH) have been providing a series of Leaders and Managers Forums. These are face to face events based in Ipswich. Bury St Edmunds and Lowestoft. These give members of Early Years settings an opportunity to meet and network together. They can discuss areas of concern, share experiences and engage in aspects of Professional Development (PD).

During this recent round of meeting the SPH ran a session called,’ Using Research Evidence’. This session was based on the EEF publication, Using Research Evidence- A concise guide’

The aims of the session were:

  • To understand research evidence
  • Identify different forms and uses of research evidence
  • Consider how research evidence can be used to inform and develop practice

The session discussion was aimed to help practitioners look at the different types of research which are available within the sector. The importance of understanding the reliability of different types of research. The key message was to build confidence for practitioners to be able to gather a rich evidence picture by looking at a range of sources to identify pertinent themes. This will help practitioner to better understand whether approaches would work in your specific setting.

There was discussion around the merits and difficulties associated with specific types of research. Within the document these were identified as potential limitations’ ( p.4) For example, a case study will give you contextualized information about a specific setting but the findings are not easily applied to different contexts.

A really practical approach to help with this is shared within the document, it has the acronym CLAIMS.


To identify the reliability of any evidence, this model suggests the following:

- check if the conclusions are clear and are unbiased.

– check if the research identifies any limitations eg limited number of pupils in a group, time frame

– check the original research was carried out in a similar age group or setting.

- check for author or funder bias.

- check the data was collected and analysed clearly.

– check the sample was an appropriate size, especially when the results are given as percentages.

This was a useful check list for practitioners to use to identify where to find appropriate, useful evidence to support improvement in provision.

The session ended with a walk through’ of the Evidence Store. This is a useful place for practitioners to begin their journey to successful engagement with research.

Eileen Allpress

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