What is 'What Works Research'? A One-Day Conference (15th November 2016)


The Centre for Evidence and Social Innovation is hosting a one-day conference on Tuesday 15th November 2016 at Queen's focusing on increasing awareness and understanding of 'what works research'.

The event is co-organised with the Children's Research Network for Ireland and Northern Ireland, the Centre for Effective Services and Playboard NI and will run from 11am to 4pm in the Great Hall at Queen's.

Significant cuts in funding across health, education and social services mean that it is more important than ever to make informed decisions about what we do with limited resources. ‘What works research’ is about making good decisions based on the best available information and using high quality methods. It helps practitioners focus on the work that provides the greatest benefits to the public and know ‘what works’. It supports policymakers to channel funding into activities that make real improvements in people’s lives. It also provides researchers with methods to produce evidence that can have maximum impact on a whole range of global challenges.

There are varying levels of awareness and understanding of ‘What works research’. There are also many perspectives on ‘What is what works research?' Therefore this event has three main purposes:

  1. Increase awareness of and demystify ‘What works research.’
  2. Share perspectives, experiences and methods related to ‘what works research’.
  3. Provide practical examples of ‘What works research’ in different contexts e.g., in schools, families and communities.

The one-day conference will provide a space for not only increasing our understanding of what works research but also considering some of the issues, challenges and dilemmas that arise from it.

A programme for the day will appear here in due course.


Registration is free but spaces are limited. To secure your place, please email David Piekaar

About the Co-Organisers

The Children’s Research Network for Ireland and Northern Ireland supports the research community in Ireland and Northern Ireland by creating and maintaining an inclusive network through which ‘What works research’ can be supported and shared.

The Centre for Evidence and Social Innovation is an applied research centre at Queen’s University Belfast committed to improving the lives of children, families and communities through conducting and promoting ‘what works research’.

The Centre for Effective Services connects policy, practice and research, helping to ensure the implementation of effective services, to improve the lives of people across the island of Ireland. 

PlayBoard NI is an independent charity committed to promoting best practice in play and play work, through developing evidence based research and policy to improve the lives of children and young people in Northern Ireland.



11.00 am – 11.20 am         Arrival and Registration

11.20 am – 11.40 am         Welcome and Introduction

Dr Liam O’Hare (Chair CRNINI and Senior Research Fellow Centre for Evidence and Social Innovation)


What is What Works Research?


11.40 am – 12.00 pm         A Research Perspective (Professor Paul Connolly, Director of CESI)

12.00 pm – 12.20 pm         A Policy Perspective (Conor Rowley, Principal Officer, Department of Children and Youth Affairs, ROI)

12.20 pm – 12.40 pm         A Practitioners Perspective (Alastair Gittner, Deputy Head Teacher, Stockbridge High School, Sheffield)

12.40 pm – 1.00 pm           A Research Network Perspective (David Kenefick, Project Manager, CRNINI)

1.00 pm – 1.10 pm             Delegate Reflections

1.10 pm – 2.00 pm             Lunch

2.00 pm – 2.20 pm             An Intermediary Organisation Perspective (Nuala Doherty, Director, CES)

2.20 pm – 2.40 pm             A Voluntary Sector Perspective (Alan Herron, Director of Service Delivery and Development, Playboard)

2.40 pm – 2.55 pm             A Community Sector Perspective 1 (David Simpson, Programme Manager, Colin Early Intervention Community)

2.55 pm – 3.10 pm             A Community Sector Perspective 2 (Greater Shankill Partnership)

3.10 pm – 3.30 pm             A Statutory Sector Perspective (Maurice Meehan, HSCNI)

3.30 pm – 4.00 pm             Reflections with Invited Panel (Panel Chair: Majella McCloskey, Senior Manager, CES Belfast)

4.00 pm                              Close


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