Butts, Jeffrey A. (2012). What’s the Evidence for Evidence-Based Practice? Research and Evaluation Data Bits [2012-10]. New York, NY: Research and Evaluation Center, John Jay College of Criminal Justice, City University of New York.
Research evidence does not emerge from a pristine and impartial search for the most effective practices. The evidence we have today is the fruit of our previous research investments—investments made by funders and policymakers with beliefs, values, preferences, and even self-interest. As long as this is the case, practitioners must exercise caution in how they interpret and apply the evidence produced by evaluation research. Evidence should inform, but never simply dictate the shape of policy and practice.