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Canadian Research Working Group
for Evidence-Based Practice in Career Development

At the Pan-Canadian symposium on Career Development and Public Policy held in 2003, policy makers issued a challenge to the career development community: You haven't made the case for the impact and value of career development services. The basic argument was that policy makers believed the claims put forward by researchers and practitioners that career development services were successful, however, in order to provide the type of funding that was being requested, policy makers required evidence of the effectiveness of career services. In response to this challenge the Canadian Research Working Group on Evidence-based Practice in Career Development (CRWG) was formed. One of the initial tasks of the CRWG was to explore the state of practice regarding the evaluation of career developments services in Canada. One of the main findings was that managers and practitioners agreed that evaluation was important, however, it was seldom done, and the data that were collected often did not address the types of changes that practitioners observed. To address this problem, the CRWG developed a framework for evaluating career services that would provide a link between the changes that clients experienced and the services they received. The framework had to be comprehensive enough to cover all of the important factors and also simple enough that practitioners could use it. The initial framework was developed in 2006 and is summarized in:

Over the years, the framework has been updated to incorporate feedback from the field. A feedback loop was inserted to make explicit the formative evaluation (or Total quality services) function of the framework. Thus, if outcomes were not as expected, then the processes would be examined to make sure they had been followed as intended and if necessary the processes would be modified to make them form effective. Also, the resource base (Inputs) would be examined to see if additional resources were needed to facilitate the implementation of the processes designed to produce the desired outcomes. Then the graphic was redesigned to make it more explicit that the framework was not linear. Click here to see the resulting graphic (png file, 16 KB).

Feedback from the field indicated that many practitioners were having difficulty visualizing how intervention planning fit into the evaluation framework. To make this connection more explicit, the graphic was again redesigned to indicate the interface between intervention and evaluation. Click here to see the resulting graphic (jpg file, 712 KB).

Further feedback from government funders and agency managers suggested that important service delivery factors were not included in the evaluation framework. Even though such service delivery factors such as client flow and practitioner time use do not speak directly to client change, in many circles they are important variables to track. Therefore the graphic was again redesigned to make those factors explicit. Click here to see this version of the graphic showing the role of service delivery factors (jpg file, 984 KB).

Finally, the most recent version of the framework graphic makes more explicit how the nature of both intervention and evaluation are client centred. Click here for the most recent graphic (pdf file, 840 KB) or for editable format click here (MS Word file, 36 KB)

Since its inception, the CRWG has coordinated numerous research initiatives focused on demonstrating the value of career services.

For further information, copies of reports, summaries of research projects, and a compendium of tools and other resources, consult the CRWG web site: http://www.crwg-gdrc.ca/index.html.