Evidence-based practice begins at the planning stage of any intervention

Incorporating measurable outcomes into your program, and structuring your intervention so that you can collect evidence about its effectiveness, will assist you with evaluating your programs, making improvements for future programs as well as providing valuable evidence about ‘children of parents with a mental illness’ interventions.

Key factors that underpin a strong evidence base

Strong research design to a program, intervention or study

Research design should address many areas, including:

  • why you are conducting the intervention program
  • what outcomes you predict or wish to see from the intervention
  • how you will measure these outcomes
  • how you will ensure independence of results
  • what you want to explore or know about your intervention and its effectiveness.

Quality measures used to evaluate effectiveness

Any outcomes from your research should at the very least be measurable. For example, how do you measure an outcome such as: ‘Children in the target families will have reduced stress’? You will find information in this section of the COPMI website that addresses how a research design can measure such an outcome so that hard, quantitative and qualitative data can be gathered.

Findings (evidence) that are replicated at a variety of sites with multiple independent researchers

Any findings that are able to be reproduced by independent researchers will bear far greater weight and be far more compelling than a one-off finding, which may have unseen flaws or biases. If you use good research principles when planning your intervention, you will allow for other researchers to reproduce your findings.

Findings that are maintained over time

Research findings that last across a period of time will also be more compelling. Follow-up work or research can add evidence to the longevity of your findings.

You may not be able to incorporate all of these features into your programs or interventions, but you should keep them in mind when planning and implementing an intervention that you intend to be evidence based, or intend to gather evidence from.


The following resources explain many of these key principles in detail:


What Works Wisconsin – This site has valuable information about evaluation generally and specific facts sheets.

Kellogg Foundation – Provides excellent information about program logic and program evaluation.

If you would like to suggest any additional resources that should be listed on this site (that are available in the public domain) please contact researchevaluation@aicafmha.net.au with your suggestion.

Additional resources

Resources to assist evaluation in the following areas:

Download Free COPMI Resources

For use by families where a parent has a mental illness, their supporters, and services who work with them.