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The homelessness evidence and gap map: a building block for the evidence architecture

By Howard White
 | 3 May 2018

Howard White presents homelessness EGM in AntwerpThe evidence revolution has led to growing amounts of evidence being generated about what works across a range of sectors. Homelessness is no exception. The number of rigorous studies published grew from an average of seven a year in 2000-05 to 17 a year from 2011-17. But all this research is of no use if it is not used. As I have written in a recent Campbell blog post, organisations in the What Works movement are creating an evidence architecture, such as online evidence portals, to make evidence available to intended users in accessible, understandable formats.

Building an evidence architecture requires an understanding of the foundations on which that architecture rests. The Centre for Homelessness Impact and Campbell are publishing the Global Evidence and Gap Map of Effectiveness Studies. This map shows 227 studies – 206 impact evaluations and 21 systematic reviews – of the effectiveness of interventions to improve the welfare of those who are homeless or at risk of homelessness. A second map of intervention issues identified in process evaluations will follow in July 2018.

  • You can explore the map by clicking here.
  • And download the accompanying report here (PDF).
  • Finally, the list of 227 included studies is here (link coming soon).

The main findings of the map are that there are indeed many studies. But the evidence is unevenly spread by sector and geography, the vast majority of the studies being from North America. And there are comparatively few systematic reviews. The map thus provides a guide for next steps for a research programme. Using the map and stakeholder consultation, the Centre will identify a programme of work for primary studies and systematic reviews.

This is a first edition of the map. Over the next few months, we will seek to identify any studies we have missed – if you know of any please send them to us. And we will complete the quality assessment of all studies, and full database records for those studies. As the evidence base continues to grow, the map will be updated annually. It will also be published in the Campbell Library later in the year, along with a second edition of the map for the Centre for Homelessness Impact.

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