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 Knowledge Managers, 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

Depending on what topic you want to know more about and how you want to use it, we can:

Conduct a literature search

We will search for relevant evidence from a wide range of sources including academic and practice-based publications and give you a list of suggestions for further reading.

Produce an Outline, summarising or reviewing the evidence

We will find relevant high-quality evidence and summarise or review the main themes to give you an idea of the different approaches and methods relating to your topic and need. All Outlines are available on the Iriss website.

Facilitate tailored workshops and one to one support 

We can help you build your own capacity for sourcing, evaluating and sharing knowledge, through one-to-one training or group workshops.

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
  • Communities and community development
  • Criminal justice
  • Digital inclusion/skills
  • Disabilities (physical and learning)
  • Education and training
  • 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

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.

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