Standards of Evidence

Nesta’s Standards of Evidence is a tool that helps you plan for an appropriate burden of evidence as five levels of evidence of impact.
Social innovators need to be able to measure the change we are helping to bring about, in order to know whether we are making a positive difference or not.
Nesta’s Standards of Evidence is a tool that helps you plan for appropriate burden of evidence as five levels of evidence of impact. Here, evidence refers not to specific types of data or methods with which to collect or create evidence. Instead they are indications to ensure that innovations are “maturing” and becoming more robust, more rigorous. These levels of evidence indicate to what extent we can be confident that our proposed solution is helping rather than hindering. They also direct us to aim for the appropriate level of evidence, e.g. not randomized control trials right from the start.
At each stage or level, the evidence is assessed to measure if it is robust, appropriate and high-quality, where level 1 is the minimum requirement one would expect to see, and level 5 indicates strong, demonstrable evidence of impact.
Source: Puttick, Ludlow. Nesta. Standards of Evidence: An Approach that balances the need for evidence with innovation. 2013. http://www.nesta.org.uk/sites/default/files/standards_of_evidence.pdf