SSKS Impact and Satisfaction Evaluation

The Social Services Knowledge Scotland (SSKS) Impact and Satisfaction Evaluation was completed in order to evaluate the impact SSKS has on day-to-day practice and learning and development for social care workers.
It was also designed to find out how satisfied users are with the material available on SSKS, including subscription content, search functions, and layout of the site. The feedback will help to identify what SSKS does well, what could be improved and to formulate a plan for future developments of the site.

A web questionnaire was created on Questback and was available to users between September 2012 and January 2013. The questionnaire was promoted through an e-mail to all those who have registered to receive updates from SSKS, the SSKS Twitter, the SSKS blog an in the Scottish Social Services Council (SSSC) e-newsletter. Also, those who have elected to be SSKS enthusiasts were asked to distribute the questionnaire to their colleagues. 77 people responded to the questionnaire.

Between September 2012 and November 2012, 11 learning and development workers from nine local authorities were interviewed.

This is a summary of both stages of the evaluation. If you would like to take part in informing the future development of SSKS, we are currently still seeking responses to our Topic Portal Questionnaire. This should take no more than 10 minutes to complete and will be very useful to us.

Web Questionnaire

How would you rate SSKS in terms of helping you find the information you are looking for?

Use of SSKS often or sometimes for the following purposes:

  • Informing practice and delivery of care and support 71.4%
  • Developing policy, protocols, pathways or guidelines 42%
  • Service improvement 55.9%
  • Keeping up-to-date 75.7%
  • Professional development, e.g. CPD or PRTL 59%
  • Teaching/ training staff/ students 47.6%
  • Staff development outside formal teaching 43.3%
  • Research 66.6%

Percentage who find the following types of resource available from SSKS very useful or useful:

  • Books 32.4%
  • Case studies or practice examples 70.1%
  • Downloadable leaflets or factsheets 74.6%
  • e-Learning materials 62.3%
  • Evidence summaries 52.9%
  • Full-text journal articles 58.9%
  • Legislation 52.9%
  • Reports 57.3%
  • Statistics 36.4%
  • Training materials 55.4%

Telephone Interviews

The practice educators who took part in the telephone were asked about impact of knowledge support, application of knowledge, sharing knowledge/ experiences, learning and engagement.

Some of the main findings were:

  • Areas identified which could benefit most from improved knowledge support were integration, evidence-informed practice (EiP), Self-Directed Support (SDS), leadership, training and studying. In order to encourage workers to search for evidence to inform their practice, the respondents embed links to SSKS in their organisation’s intranet, place shortcuts to SSKS on worker’s desktops and include links to SSKS in staff signatures and internal communications. SSKS is promoted through internal training sessions and to workers completing formal qualifications such as the Practice Learning Qualification (PLQ)
  • Asked about their experience of using SSKS the respondents were very positive, with all eleven respondents answering ‘yes,’ SSKS is useful. SSKS was described as user-friendly, easy to understand and as containing a wide range of resources. The topic portals were highlighted as a welcome addition.
  • Suggestions for improvement of SSKS included easier access to subscription content, digests, summaries, targeted RSS feeds and more collaboration between agencies. Awareness amongst social care workers of the subscription content available on SSKS was described as low.
  •  All agreed that usage of SSKS is still low in some areas. Suggestions for promotion of SSKS and overcoming barriers to access were: focus on hot topics such as SDS, face-to-face promotion in team meetings, promote to students early during studies, provide promotional materials for large events, more joint working with social care organisations, continue distributing things like pens which are popular, wider circulation of training opportunities, emphasise ease of use, highlight how SSKS can save time and provide examples of relevant resources.


Over all, the experiences and views of SSKS seem to be positive. The topic portals, e-newsletters and range of materials have all been highlighted as particularly useful parts of the site

The main points for development suggested have been the Athens log in procedure and the profile of SSKS. As the process to access subscription content cannot be changed, an action from this evaluation will be to revisit all information available on SSKS about accessing journals and databases.

As awareness of SSKS is still described as low in some parts of the social care workforce, the communication strategy should be evaluated and revisited. Some plans for outreach to new users would be another useful action as a result of this evaluation.

What do you think about the survey’s findings?

Contact [email protected] to share your thoughts.

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