Evidence Search and Summary Service

The Evidence Search and Summary Service (ESSS) will help you find and use evidence from research, practice and experience to inform practice, service improvement and continuous learning.

This free service is led by our Information Specialists, Lauren Smith and Annelies Allcock, who will be happy to help you with your enquiry.

Who can use the service

Anyone working within social services in public, private or voluntary organisations in Scotland is welcome to contact ESSS for support with research and evidence.

How we can help you

We can provide:

Literature searches, evidence summaries and reviews

Depending on your needs, we will search for relevant evidence from a wide range of sources including academic and practice-based publications, and produce a resource for your further reading. We can also summarise or review the main themes to give you an idea of the different perspectives, approaches or methods. We publish the outputs of enquiries as Outlines, all of which are available online.

Workshops and one to one support 

We're in the process of designing a series of workshops for 2018-19 around building capacity for sourcing, evaluating and sharing knowledge. To hear more about these when they launch, please sign up to the Iriss mailing list.

We're also happy to provide one to one support. When you contact us we’ll get in touch with you to discuss what information or resources you need and how we can most effectively help you.

What topics we can help with

We cover everything related to social services, including:  

  • Arts and creativity
  • Children and young people
  • Communities and community development
  • Criminal justice
  • Digital inclusion/skills
  • Disabilities (physical and learning)
  • Equality and diversity
  • Families, children and young people
  • Financial wellbeing (including benefits and employment)
  • Housing and environment
  • Integration and cross-sectoral working
  • Management and organisational development
  • Mental health and wellbeing
  • Older people
  • Research methods and evaluation
  • Workforce development, education and training

This is not an exhaustive list, and if there’s anything outside our remit that you would like help with, we can recommend an alternative service. 

We make our resources publicly available under a Creative Commons license and anyone is welcome to use them. We publish the outputs of all our enquiries as ESSS Outlines.

Find out more

Make an enquiry

Please use the form on this page or alternatively, you can email us at or phone us on 0141 559 5057. We’re also on twitter at @irissESSS.


To find out more about ESSS and the work we do, you can read our blog.