The Knowledge Bank contains up to date published and relevant grey literature in core subject areas surrounding couple and family relationships. The literature should contribute to the development of policy that is well-informed, balanced and relates to the wider social environment.
In collating this evidence base to inform practice and policy, a key selection criteria is the quality of research and the robustness of evidence, with a particular focus on the scientific process (aspects such as overall study design, specific research questions, methods, and the coherence and consistency of findings) and on the robustness of the research findings and conclusions. Most often quality research is a precursor to quality evidence.
In conjunction with the hierarchy of evidence, research quality will be assessed on the following four components (adapted from Boaz and Ashby, 2003):
- Quality and transparency in reporting: Is the research presented in a way that can be appraised and used by others?
- Methodological quality: Was the research technically well executed?
- Appropriateness of the methods: Does the research approach match the defined purpose of the study?
- Quality of the messages in the research: Does the research address important policy and practice questions in a way that is both useful and usable?
In addition evidence quality will be assessed by the following three components:
- Quality: The combined quality of individual studies (based on the criteria above).
- Quantity: The number of studies contained in the body of evidence, the sample size and statistical power within these included studies.
- Consistency: The extent to which similar findings are reported using similar and different study designs.
The following hierarchy of evidence is used as a tool to organise and assess the relative importance and quality of research which is included in the Knowledge Bank:
- Systematic reviews and meta-analyses.
- Well-designed randomised controlled trials.
- Well-designed trials without randomisation.
- Well-designed non-experimental studies.
- Opinion of respected authorities, based on clinical evidence, descriptive studies or reports of expert communities.
What is not included in the Knowledge Bank?
The Knowledge Bank is intended to be accessible and contribute to the development of policy and practice. Therefore, there are certain resources that will not be included:
- Evidence that do not meet the criteria set above.
- Evidence where there is not free access to the full text (this includes most academic journal articles for which access to full text is restricted by subscription barriers).
- Evidence which is not relevant to the area of couple and family relationships or does not inform the development of policy and practice that is well, informed, balanced and relates to the wider social environment.