Canadian Research Working Group

Research at Work...

Presentations have been made at provincial, national, and international conferences, describing our evaluation framework and some of the initial field-testing that has been done. These have been received enthusiastically and it seems to us that people in the field are eager to embrace the ideas and try to implement them in their work settings.

Evidence-Based Practice

Why Evaluate Practice?

Virtually anyone involved with the field of career development can attest, through direct experience and observation, that quality career programs and services support increase quality of life for the clients, increase learner motivation, worker skill development, productivity and retention. There is only one small problem: historically, these claims have not been proven! In fact, there has been little concrete evidence that career programs and services actually “work,” and the evidence available reflects very specific programs and services for specific populations. This barren evidence-based landscape is now changing.

Why does the lack of direct evidence matter? There are many reasons. Funding for service delivery is increasingly linked to demonstration of results. Simply put, if services cannot clearly demonstrate the impacts they are having, they will be less likely to receive funding. Furthermore, one criterion of a profession is the evidence base for its practice; if the career development field is to have high credibility, the impacts of its programs and services must be documented and visible. Increased professionalism is also directly linked to public accountability; the people who use our services deserve a level of quality assurance. A strong evidence base is necessary in order to influence public or organizational policy in desired directions. Finally, practitioners need evidence of the impact of their programs and services for their own professional integrity and accountability. Evidence matters!

The CRWG formed to work towards building a framework to demonstrate that what career development practitioners do works. This site contains research reports and fact sheets that document impacts and can be used to demonstrate to funders, clients and managers the value of investing in career development programs and services.