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Finding existing evidence

Your time is limited, and you want to find existing evidence with clear links to where it can be located. It is best to access robust sources of information where the quality of the data has already been assessed.

Here are 16 websites where you can locate existing evidence. Many of these sites will also provide information on policy and practice related to the subject or area. Under each resource heading you will see a summary of what you can locate on the website site, and direct links to search engines within the site.  

Social Care Institute for Excellence (SCIE)

SCIE is a ‘values-driven improvement agency’ that co-produces, shares and supports the use of the best available knowledge and evidence about what works in practice.  It also supports the work of Social Care Wales through the provision of knowledge and evidence/research-based services to social care leaders.

SCIE resources and services by geographical location and resource type.

Evidence-based practice resources and services.

This is a repository of resources and you can search by subject area and resource type (i.e. position paper, guide, report).

The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE)

The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) provides national guidance and advice to improve health and social care.  The NICE website provides guidance, advice and information services for health, public health and social care professionals.  

Social Care guidelines, quality standards, case studies, Quality Matters initiative and tools

Tailored Resources contain key messages and are designed to help put NICE guidance and standards into practice.

Adults Social care include guidance, NICE Pathways and quality standards.

Children’s Social Care  include any guidance, NICE Pathways and quality standards.

https://www.nice.org.uk/about/nice-communities/social-care/using-nice-guidance-in-social-work Contains advice and examples of how guidelines and quality standards can be used in social work

https://www.evidence.nhs.uk/ Provides a search engine to look for evidence

Social Care Wales

Social Care Wales provides national practice guidance. The National Social Care Data Portal and workforce data are available on the site.

There are specific research and data resources.

Social Care Wales are developing a series of curated research on a range of topics. Currently these are on loneliness, looked after children and healthy aging.

National social care data portal for Wales: A range of data from a variety of sources relating to social care services. this is provided by data Cymru and is available on their website.

What Works Centre for Wellbeing. 

With a focus on wellbeing, this Centre works with a range of stakeholders and experts to ‘…provide evidence, guidance and discussion papers on: housing, infrastructure and where we live; unemployment; workplace culture, training and job design; adult and community learning; community wellbeing; sport, dance and physical activity; culture, music and singing; measuring wellbeing’. This site includes evidence and practice examples.


Evidence in action

What Works Centre for Children’s Social Care

What Works Centre for Children’s Social Care.  ‘Aims to improve the lives of children and families through setting standards and generating the best research into what works for children’s social care’. The Centre collates, produces and translates research about “What Works” in Children’s Social Care.  The website gives a dashboard view of the interventions reviewed so far, including at-a-glance ratings for overall effectiveness and strength of evidence. You can click through for more detail, including how the intervention works, who it’s for and where it’s been studied.  Some implementation details and some relevant UK contacts and case studies are also included.

 General site


 Evidence Store

Centre for Ageing and Dementia Research (CADR)

Funded by Health and Care Research Wales, CADR is a Wales wide research centre focused on ageing and dementia research.

CADR resources

Children’s Social Care Research and Development Centre (CASCADE)

Funded by Health and Care Research Wales, CASCADE aims to improve the well-being, safety and rights of children and their families’. The CASCADE website has summary briefings of research studies, and digital resources.

CASCADE is also the home of ExChange, a knowledge mobilisation programme.

Welsh Institute for Health and Social Care (WISHC)

WISHC is a Welsh health and care policy research institute. Their website lists research outputs.


National Institute for Health Research (NIHR)

The NIHR is the UK's largest funder of health and care research.  It works in partnership with the NHS, universities, local government, other research funders, patients and the public to deliver and enable research.  The NIHR is primarily funded by the Department of Health and Social Care, but also receives UK Aid funding to support research for people in low- and middle-income countries.  Their website provides an evidence search tool for health and care professionals, researchers and the public.  This includes the NIHR Journals Library and Discover Portal (open access journals, studies and reviews).

Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC)

ESRC is part of UK Research and Innovation (UKRI), which brings together the UK’s seven research councils, Innovate UK and Research England.  ESRC funds research across a wide range of social science topics, including health and wellbeing, public services and society. 

Research in Practice for Adults (RIPFA).

RIPFA supports people working in social care and health to improve outcomes for adults, their families and carers.  It brings together academic research, practice expertise and the experiences of people accessing services to enable professionals across the sector to make evidence-informed decisions about the design and delivery of Adults’ Services.

Research in Practice (RiP)

RiP is a sister organisation to Research in Practice for Adults (RiPfA) and operates in the same way, but with a focus on children and family services. Through fee-paid subscription, they work with organisations to enable them to access, understand and apply evidence in their work. They achieve this by bringing together academic research, practice expertise and the experiences of people accessing services. They then apply this knowledge to develop a range of resources and learning opportunities, as well as delivering tailored services, expertise and training.

Cochrane Library

Cochrane is a British charity formed to organise medical research findings so as to facilitate evidence-based choices about health interventions faced by health professionals, patients, and policy makers. Cochrane includes 53 review groups that are based at research institutions worldwide.


The National Audit Office

The NAO is independent and supports Parliament to hold government to account for public spending.  They have a detailed publications page on their website with a search function.  This includes a good practice site with webinar and event outputs.

Publications Search

Good practice

Statistics Wales

StatsWales is a free-to-use service that allows you to view, manipulate, create and download tables from Welsh data.


Iriss (Institute for Research and Innovation in Social Services) is a Scottish organisation with an extensive track record in presenting and collaboratively using evidence in policy and practice development. All of their resources are free to access include some excellent knowledge reviews: Iriss Insights.

The organisation has three strategic outcomes:

  • Embed a culture of collaboration
  • Ensure everyone has the knowledge, tools and skills to effectively use evidence
  • Place people at the centre of the design of services and support