Evaluations Online is a public portal providing access to a collection of evaluation and economic development research reports commissioned by Scottish Enterprise, Scotland’s main economic development agency.
Ensuring that public investment generates economic and social benefits, and long-term inclusive growth for Scotland is core to Scottish Enterprise’s remit. Making evaluation and research reports publicly available, supports this aim as well as ensuring transparency.
Some of the most popular recent reports added to the site have focused on:
- Evaluation of Scottish Development International support for companies wanting to trade internationally and for inward investment
- Evaluation of support for leadership and professional development in the tourism sector
- Market research into the energy efficiency and low carbon sector
- Understanding productivity challenges within the Scottish textile industry
- The nature and impact of golf tourism within Scotland.
Working in partnership
Since 2007, Idox has been working with Scottish Enterprise to deliver Evaluations Online using a publishing platform designed specifically to deal with research material. Users can easily navigate to and assess the relevance of material thanks to specially-written abstracts and structured search functions based on a bespoke classification and record structure.
The site now contains over 600 evaluation and research reports commissioned by Scottish Enterprise, dealing with different aspects of economic development activity such as business support, investment, sector growth and improving skills. All of the reports are publicly accessible and free to access.
Since the site launched we have continued to refresh and improve the site, ensuring it better meets the needs of key user groups, including economic development policy-makers and practitioners across Scotland. In the last quarter of 2016, the reports hosted on the site were accessed over 30,000 times.
The importance of evaluation
We’ve highlighted the importance of evidence and evaluation and assessment of information quality on the blog several times before. It’s worth repeating that repositories of evidence can help bring about better policy in a number of ways:
- improving accountability by making it easier for people to scrutinise the activities and spending of public sector organisations – this helps organisations meet Freedom of Information responsibilities;
- improving the visibility and therefore the impact of evidence;
- helping identify gaps in evidence by making it easier to compare research findings; and
- increasing our understanding of what works (‘good practice’), not only in the activities covered, but also in evaluation and research methods.
We’re proud to support Scottish Enterprise in the dissemination of their evaluation and research output, through a portal which they believe increases the return on these activities.
You can find out more about the projects The Knowledge Exchange team has been involved in, and the consultancy services we offer, here.