Where do the studies in the YEF Toolkit come from?
The Toolkit includes studies conducted both in the UK and internationally. However, all studies included in the research used in the Toolkit were written in English. Most studies in the Toolkit are based on research conducted in the US and UK.
How old are the studies?
Where possible, Toolkit approaches are underlined by the most recent systematic reviews. The headline impact ratings are all based on reviews published in 2013 or after. The only exception is the review on bootcamps (an approach that isn’t commonly used today), which is based on the most relevant systematic review from 2008.
What kind of evidence does the Toolkit include?
The Toolkit includes a variety of different types of studies.
Systematic reviews – which summarise the findings across a number of different studies conducted on the same approach.
Impact evaluations – which measure the impact of an intervention on crime, violence or other outcomes. These studies aim to provide a rigorous estimate of the extent to which the intervention has met its aims.
Implementation and process evaluations – which use a mix of quantitative and qualitative research methods to explore implementation, understand the experiences of those involved, and examine the reasons why the intervention did (or didn’t) work. These studies can often provide rich information that can support reflection on maximising the impact of an approach.
How were young people consulted on the development of the Toolkit?
YEF worked with Clearview, a research agency, to recruit a diverse group of young people from across the UK to join our Toolkit Youth Panel.
The Toolkit Youth Panel was consulted in various stages of the development of the YEF Toolkit. The young people were asked about their views on the different approaches in the Toolkit, whether the descriptions of the interventions matched up with their experiences of programmes and whether the language in the Toolkit was appropriate. The Toolkit Youth Panel also took part in user testing, which gave an insight into whether the Toolkit was easy to use and understand.
Will the Toolkit always be a free resource?
The aim of the YEF Toolkit is to remove the barriers for people who are looking to use evidence in their work to prevent children from becoming involved in violence. We know that one of those barriers is cost.
That’s why the Toolkit will always be free of charge.
What will you do if the evidence on an approach in the Toolkit changes so it’s no longer consistent with what’s written in the Toolkit?
We’ll update the Toolkit twice a year, so that we can:
- add more approaches to the Toolkit
- add new evidence to existing approaches in the Toolkit. This means that if the evidence on an approach changes, the Toolkit will reflect the most recent research.
How did you decide on the approaches to include in the Toolkit?
The approaches in the Toolkit were decided on in three main ways:
(1). What does our audience want to know?
During the development of the Toolkit, YEF met with various stakeholders from across the youth justice sector in England and Wales, including colleagues from YOTs, VRUs, local authorities, children’s safeguarding divisions, youth charities and community-based organisations, and the police. These early conversations helped us find out about what approaches you thought were important.
(2). Where there wasn’t enough evidence
Some commonly used approaches have little evidence on effectiveness such as sports participation or police in schools.
We wanted to make sure the YEF Toolkit also points to areas where more evidence on effectiveness needs to be developed. We hope it’ll encourage investment in evaluation, so that we can learn more about what’s likely to work.
(3). Where the evidence was strong:
We included approaches where high-quality research had already been conducted. This is so you can find the ‘best bets’ on what does – and doesn’t – work.
How will you develop the evidence base the Toolkit relies on?
We’ll commission new reviews where there isn’t enough evidence for us estimate how much impact an approach has. For example, we’re commissioning a new systematic review on sports participation for the next update of the Toolkit.
What kind of children do the studies in the Toolkit cover?
The Toolkit is based on the research in the Evidence and Gaps Map which has focused on children aged 0-17. Studies involved children mostly from Western countries. Not all studies provided detail about the characteristics of children who received interventions, such as socio-economic background or ethnicity. However, we’ve included this information where we can.
Who carried out the review of the evidence that’s used in the Toolkit?
Academics from the University of Cambridge Criminology department teamed up with the Campbell Collaboration, who are internationally renowned for conducting systematic reviews.
The Campbell and Cambridge team conducted the review of research evidence included in the Toolkit. The review team included both Professor David Farrington and Dr Hannah Gaffney from the University of Cambridge, and Howard White from the Campbell Collaboration.