The evidence pyramid - long description

Data forms the basis of all good research and evidence. As demonstrated in the evidence pyramid above, it can be operationalised into useful guides, checklists and other resources for practitioners to use in their day-to-day practice (top of the pyramid). These resources allow practitioners to utilise strong evidence and incorporate it into their practice without needing to engage with underlying detailed data sets.

Evidence can take many forms. Primary studies collect and report on data generated through an empirical research study, while systematic reviews collate primary studies to present multiple pieces of evidence on a specific topic. Data can be stored in databases, which are useful for comparing sets of data, for example, from different schools or different jurisdictions. Evidence maps illustrate the quantity, distribution and characteristics of published studies and identify gaps in research, highlighting future research needs. Evidence platforms usually exist for specific sectors and guide users to recognise evidence sources. At the top of the pyramid, evidence portals, guidelines and check-lists are often based on data and research findings but do not necessarily reference the research directly.