THE ART AND SCIENCE OF USING EVIDENCE
We aim to advance the art and science of supporting evidence-use, with a particular focus on evidence capacities, evidence communities and evidence synthesis. To these ends, we research and review: the practical experiences and craft knowledge of people across Africa; the evidence about what works for supporting evidence use, how and why; and the contexts in which evidence-informed decision-making takes place, including political analysis. We also contribute to the development of theory and methods of evidence-use. We organise our work in this portfolio into three themes, described below.
ACE works to collate knowledge on the art (craft/experiential evidence) and the science (research evidence) on evidence-informed decision-making in Africa. This includes understanding the evidence ecosystem in Africa. We routinely map micro-evidence ecosystems in partnership with colleagues within the Africa Evidence Network, with specific collections from 2018 and 2016 linked to our EVIDENCE events. We also produced a geo-map of evidence-informed decision-making institutions in Africa. Last but not least we collect and curate accounts of evidence integration into policy and practice, in particular – but not limited to – COVID-19 responses from across the continent.
The objective of our focus on the ‘art and science of using evidence’ is to systematically collate, organise, and synthesise the existing knowledge on evidence-informed policy-making in order to develop evidence-informed guidelines for strengthening evidence-use. Such evidence-informed guidelines can then form the basis of tailored and contextualised evidence-informed policy-making tools and initiatives.
We constantly aim to improve the responsiveness of evidence synthesis to decision-makers’ needs. This includes the development of rapid response services as pioneered by the African Centre for Evidence Synthesis and the exploration of new approaches and tools to embed evidence synthesis into policy decision-making.