2018 in review: round-up of our top posts on connecting research with policy
A round up of top posts from 2018.
Never mind the policymakers, a more nuanced understanding of the diverse roles in change processes is requiredFunding bids, academic papers, and policy briefs are full of references to the “policymaker” as the primary audience for research and evidence. But this term means little when you consider the diversity of policy actors, practitioners, donors, and activists. James Georgalakis argues researchers must acquire a more nuanced understanding of their audiences’ diverse roles in change processes. Rather than becoming preoccupied with policymakers, focus should shift to building the capacity of intermediaries whose role it is to identify, assess, and repackage evidence for a range of audiences.
Five lessons for researchers who want to collaborate with governments and development organisations but avoid the common pitfallsThe appeal of collaborating with a government agency, or an organisation funded by one, seems obvious. It provides researchers with much needed resources and information, while also offering practitioners and policymakers a way of generating the evidence needed to design better programmes. But it’s not always easy to make collaborative research work well. Susan Dodsworth and Nic Cheeseman outline some simple lessons for those looking to collaborate while avoiding the common pitfalls.
Shorter timeframes, co-designed, with “first-cut” insights: how university policy research can become more responsive to the needs of policymakersHow might universities develop a research agenda that is responsive to the needs of policymakers? Tamas Wells and Emma Blomkamp identified three ways in which policy research might become more “user-centred”: more variety in the timeframes of research projects, with some short as well as longer-term projects; closer engagement with policymakers in research design; and sharing of researchers’ “first-cut” insights that might offer a clear message and direction to policymakers.
One-way, mutually constitutive, or two autonomous spheres: what is the relationship between research and policy?Academics are increasingly exhorted to ensure their research has policy “impact”. But is this ambition predicated on an overly simplistic understanding of the policy process? Christina Boswell and Katherine Smith set out four different approaches to theorising the relationship between knowledge and policy and consider what each of these suggests about approaches to incentivising and measuring research impact.
It’s not enough for research to be useful to policy actors, we must try to actually influence changeThere is no doubt that good communications and framing research and evidence for your audience is important to influencing policy and having research impact. But shouldn’t we be aiming higher than producing and packaging research that simply meets the demands of policy actors? Surely what we actually want to do is influence change, not reinforce social and political norms? James Georgalakis argues that research and researchers need to challenge dominant paradigms and expose inconvenient truths.
A blueprint for building university-based boundary organisations that achieve impacts on policy and practiceThe uptake and integration of scientific research into decision-making processes remains a significant challenge. Many research organisations have begun to experiment with novel institutional structures aimed at enhancing the impact of research on policy and practice. Taking Stockholm University’s Baltic Eye Project as a case study, Marie Löf and Chris Cvitanovic present a blueprint for building university-based boundary organisations, setting out the seven key themes to consider.
The perpetual tango: what exactly is “evidence-informed policymaking” premised on and working towards?Given the field of evidence-informed policymaking has existed for some time, experts’ confusion, knowledge gaps, and inconsistencies around the fundamentals is bewildering. Jacqueline Sohn considers how evidence-informed policymaking works in practice, likening the swift and abrupt movements that eventually lead to policies being developed to a perpetual tango, and reveals how research producers looking to successfully influence the process might use politics to their advantage.
How games can help us to understand how people make decisions and support policy development that takes better account of field realitiesGames are increasingly used in research and development projects, bringing elements of play into real life to deliver insights into decision-making processes. Claude Garcia describes how real life can be taken into the world of games, facilitating players to take better decisions by themselves, and how doing so can support policy development, helping to draft policy that takes better account of field realities.
Posted 08/02/2019 14:44Back