The Foundations for Evidence-Based Policymaking Act of 2018 (Evidence Act) requires federal agencies to create an Evidence-Building plan, otherwise known as a learning agenda. The Evidence-Building Plan is an organization’s way to articulate priority questions and design an approach to developing evidence in support of those questions. When organizations develop an evidence-building or evaluation plan, they have an opportunity to strengthen the use of evidence within their organizations to promote improved evidence-based decision making and continuous improvement. Through a well-managed planning process that emphasizes stakeholder engagement, organizations can prioritize areas for evidence building, streamline resources, and make a persuasive case about the importance of evidence in running an effective organization that achieves its strategic priorities.
- Establishing an organization-wide understanding of what constitutes evidence, as well as shared systems to manage the development and use of evidence, are foundational to evidence-building efforts.
- There are a number of widely used steps for developing evidence-building plans that may be adapted to fit an organization’s needs: engaging stakeholders; conducting a landscape analysis; developing a plan to address the questions; forming and prioritizing questions; and publicizing and operationalizing the plan with activities.
- Evidence-building plans contain questions that are linked to strategic priorities, feasible to address, and likely to guide decision making.
- Organizations should rely on extensive internal and external stakeholder engagement to ensure that the evidence-building plan is incorporated into their systems and culture.