Giving Compass' Take:

• The author discusses the importance of using data regarding evidence-based programs that were not successful, rather than only looking at the evidence-based programs that worked. 

• How can philanthropists encourage grantees to include findings on programs that did not work in their reporting? What can organizations gain from that knowledge that will help scale impact?

• Here are three key principles for evidence-based policy-making. 

How do we realize the promise of evidence-based policymaking if we only report evidence when it reveals what works, and file it away when it identifies what doesn’t? We don’t. How do we ensure that null and negative findings are reported along with positive ones? We need to nurture a culture in which such evidence is valued for learning, and not used as an axe. And in at least one case, we have a model on which we can build.

Until recently, the focus has been on simply increasing the amount of available evidence, since evidence-based policymaking was hamstrung by the dearth of evidence in many policy areas. There simply was not enough evidence available for decision makers to use. But that’s changing.

Asking grantees to establish research questions in advance and collecting the findings from those analyses at the end ensured that all of the evidence is available for decision makers. But it is only one step towards creating a learning culture in which null or negative findings are a tool and not an axe.

Read the full article about evidence-based policymaking from America Forward