Evidence-Based Methods

Collecting evidence on processes and outcomes can be integrated into your system for managing performance. There are a number of different methods; this page highlights some common ones.

Evidence-based methods are a critical tool for evaluating how you’re doing and can be used to support decision making, to find better ways to deliver program outcomes, and to investigate further when you are not getting the results for your customer that you expected. The approach for considering how to integrate evidence to learn about your program always begins with a clear understanding of program objectives: outline what your program aims to achieve; who you are serving; and what resources are used. The methods highlighted here can be used as part of the design, operation, and evaluation of a program, and it is important to understand the value and limitations of each; they are not interchangeable

Examples of evidence-based methods that you could use:

  • Behavioral Economics: Applying insights into human behavior to guide the most effective delivery of programs. 
  • Benefit-Cost Analysis: Testing and understanding the cost-effectiveness of programs by comparing the associated costs and benefits. In Colorado, we have a dedicated Results First team.
  • Statistical Methods: Identifying patterns in sample data to draw inferences about population, accounting for randomness. The use of statistical controls allows for mathematically sorting which variables have an impact – based on the available data.
  • Audit: A systematic and documented approach to gathering evidence which is used to evaluate how well audit criteria (typically compliance with a prescribed set of rules and/or mission objectives) are being met. Audits must be objective, impartial, and independent.

Behavioral Economics

This paper introduces a well-tested framework for applying behavioral insights, using public sector examples. If you want to encourage a behavior, make it Easy, Attractive, Social, and Timely (EAST).

Benefit-Cost Analysis
This reading includes an overview of the Colorado Results First methodology, findings, and questions that benefit-cost analysis can address.