2 days

About this course

The module will provide a basic understanding of service evaluation and methods for assessing intervention outcomes. A range of commonly employed methodological approaches will be introduced and discussed, and some of the ethical and methodological difficulties often encountered in evaluation research will be introduced.

The aim is to equip practitioners with an informed appreciation of the purpose of evaluation, the differences between audit and research, basic research methodology, design and outcome measures. The module will also highlight some of the ethical issues that need to be considered in evaluation and research in this field.


1.Basic introduction to early years' evaluation research

This seminar will introduce students to the core concepts of evaluation research in early years’ services. The importance of doing research, from the point of view of different stakeholders, will be highlighted. Students will learn about different types of evidence, from single case studies to randomized controlled trials, and what can be learnt from them.  They will also learn to make distinctions between various concepts, such as evidence based intervention vs. evidence based practice and effectiveness vs. efficacy. 

2.Ethical issues and understanding bias in evaluation research

This seminar will teach students about some of the ethical and methodological issues that need to be considered and addressed in early years’ service evaluation. Some of the most important ethical considerations, such as the use of control groups, randomization, conflicts of interest, and informed consent, will be discussed. Students will also learn more about the concepts of validity and reliability and how these may be violated. Practical techniques to minimize methodological biases and ethical difficulties will be presented.

3.Clinical practice and early years research

This seminar introduces the concepts of practice-based evidence and aims to highlight the role of the practitioner in contributing to the research evidence in early years’ services. Examples will be used to illustrate how clinical experience and theory can and should inform various research approaches, instruments and the selection of treatment outcomes. The value of routine outcome monitoring and how this can contribute to the wider evidence base will be discussed. Students will learn about process research and how it is possible to translate clinical questions into research questions. The seminar will also introduce students to other methodological approaches such as qualitative and single case studies.

4.Critically evaluating and making use of evidence

In this seminar, students will bring together the knowledge from the previous seminars and will learn to apply this knowledge to their own practice. They will learn how to search for relevant literature, and will learn about the value of meta-analyses and systematic reviews. Examples will be used to illustrate how clinical services can make use of research tools in their clinical work, and how outcome data can influence clinical practice. Various methods for critically evaluating the quality of evidence will be introduced so that students are equipped with the skills to make informed decisions about how to use evidence in their practice.

Who is this training suitable for?

ITSIEY is suitable for allied mental health professionals working in the field of infant mental health e.g. nurses, therapists, psychologists, family therapist and psychiatrists. If you have any specific questions about the suitability of the module for your practice, please email

About International Training School for Infancy and Early Years (ITSIEY)

The Anna Freud National Centre for Children and Families (UK), the Tavistock and Portman NHS Foundation Trust (UK) and Yale University Child Study Centre (USA) have formed a unique collaboration in establishing the International Training School in Infancy and Early Years (ITSIEY). ITSIEY opened its doors to students in January 2012 and take up from students across a range of disciplines has been good. The modules are running in the UK (London) and USA (New Haven) sites.

With six modular courses, ITSIEY offers tiered continuing professional development to all practitioners working with parents and young children

Module 1: Introduction to Infant and Early Years Mental Health (compulsory*)

Module 2:The Developing Infant, the Couple and the Family: Understanding Relationships within a Social and Cultural Context

Module 3: Understanding and Assessing Risk and Resilience

Module 4: Parent-Infant and Systemic Observation Skills: the Role of Observation in Clinical Practice

Module 5: Mentalizing in Practice; Working with Parents and Babies

Module 6: Planning for Evidence Based Practice in Early Years Services

Specialist Module A: Parental Mental Illness

Special Offer

Discounts are available for students who book on more than one ITSIEY module:

  • 2-3 modules - 5%
  • 4-5 modules - 10%
  • 6 + modules - 15%