The CIPD’s vision is for the HR and people profession to be principles-led, evidence-based and outcomes-drivenEvidence-based practice involves asking critical questions and gathering evidence from multiple sources to make better decisions – that is, decisions that are less biased and that give you the best chance of achieving your objectives. Evidence reviews are a crucial step in achieving this.

How evidence reviews help

People professionals have four key sources of evidence at their disposal and, of these, getting to grips with the scientific literature can be the most challenging. CIPD members have access to a wealth of academic publications, but finding the most robust research on a topic and understanding the technical details takes time and specialist research skills.

To help HR and people professionals, the CIPD has created a bank of evidence reviews that will grow over time. These summarise the best available evidence on a comprehensive range of key decisions.

If you have a suggestion for an evidence review, email  

The different types of evidence review

Our evidence summaries (practical and scientific) use three different methods:  

  • Rapid evidence assessments (REAs), our go-to method for evidence reviews, are shortened systematic reviews that balance rigour with practicality. They give a very reliable view of the best available research evidence, by systematically searching for and appraising studies. 
  • Critically appraised topics (CATs): a lighter-touch version of REAs for briefer reviews. They give a good picture of the best available research evidence, systematically searching for and appraising studies.
  • Thematic or ‘traditional’ literature reviews summarise key debates and research evidence and give valuable insights for practice. However, they are not systematic so may miss some important studies.