Next Generation Evidence

Strategies for More Equitable Social Impact

Data and evidence are remarkably powerful. They help us understand the needs of communities, make decisions in times of complexity, and generate stronger and more equitable outcomes. However, practitioners—the leaders and program staff at nonprofits, school districts, and public agencies—face a number of structural and practical hurdles to building and using evidence. Traditional evaluation and research methods are often not timely, affordable, or inclusive enough to meaningfully help practitioners make decisions to increase their impact for students, families, and communities. Too often and for too long, evaluation was a thing done to practitioners and the communities they serve, relegating them to a passive role when they should be regarded as leaders of this work. And for too long, evaluation practice has resisted broader, more modern methods, including data science, AI, and R&D approaches that are relevant for users but perhaps not for researchers. At its worst,  data and evidence have been used against practitioners and communities in disempowering thumbs-up, thumbs-down circumstances, rather than for learning and improvement.

Next Generation Evidence: Strategies for More Equitable Social Impact (Brookings Institution Press) features innovative thinking from leaders across policy, government, technology, philanthropy, research, community, and practice. Together, these ideas lay out a vision for a stronger, more equitable data and evidence ecosystem that centers on the voices of people and communities most directly impacted by the problems we seek to solve. Throughout the book, case studies featuring practitioners at various stages in their evidence-building journey highlight concrete illustrations of how continuous evidence building can benefit organizations and outcomes for communities.

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NextGen Campaign

Advancing a stronger, more equitable evidence ecosystem that centers practitioners and communities, connects equity with data and evidence, elevates community voices, embraces a continuous R&D approach, and broadens our definitions of evidence.

NextGen Evidence Campaign