Insights from a cross-sector review on how to conceptualise the quality of use of research evidence

Research output: Contribution to journalReview ArticleResearchpeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


Recent decades have seen widespread efforts to improve the generation and use of evidence across a number of sectors. Such efforts can be seen to raise important questions about how we understand not only the quality of evidence, but also the quality of its use. To date, though, there has been wide-ranging debate about the former, but very little dialogue about the latter. This paper focuses in on this question of how to conceptualise the quality of research evidence use. Drawing on a systematic review and narrative synthesis of 112 papers from health, social care, education and policy, it presents six initial principles for conceptualising quality use of research evidence. These concern taking account of: the role of practice-based expertise and evidence in context; the sector-specific conditions that support evidence use; how quality use develops and can be evaluated over time; the salient stages of the research use process; whether to focus on processes and/or outcomes of evidence use; and the scale or level of the use within a system. It is hoped that this paper will act as a stimulus for future conceptual and empirical work on this important, but under-researched, topic of quality of use.

Original languageEnglish
Article number141
Pages (from-to)1-12
Number of pages12
JournalHumanities & Social Sciences Communications
Publication statusPublished - 2021


  • Research Use
  • Evidence use
  • Evidence-Based Practice
  • Evidence-based policy

Cite this