‘Evidence-based policy’ and ‘what works’ are phrases that have become increasingly embedded in debate surrounding good policy-making over the last 20 years. This period has seen no shortage of critiques of these terms and the ways in which they have been employed, but relatively few attempts to articulate the precise foundations of knowledge on which they rest. Yet there are many interesting and important questions that might be asked. How exactly are stronger forms of evidence to be separated from weaker forms? What foundational assumptions lie behind the frequent endorsement of experimental methods? Or, most fundamentally, what precisely is the nature of the proposed link between good evidence and good policy? Continue reading A new understanding of evidence-based policy
Policy solutions, interventions and reform revolve around specific societal diagnoses of the problems that policymaking is supposed to solve. One of the most influential societal diagnoses informing contemporary policy reform seems to be the following: the world has become more ‘complex’, problems have become ‘wicked’ ie intractable, and all policy solutions involve a great deal of ‘uncertainty’. This popular, but rather vague and unhistorical notion has sprung various new approaches to solve diverging political problems. These approaches are often legitimised with scientific knowledge and methods. Continue reading ‘Scientific’ policymaking in a ‘complex’ world – what can we learn from the Finnish experience?
Eleanor MacKillop, Sarah Quarmby and James Downe
If only policy could be better informed by evidence, it would be more efficient, effective and deliver better outcomes. That belief is the premise for most of the current research into what is called ‘knowledge brokering’– linking research to policy and practice. It’s also what has led governments worldwide into investing significant resources into bridging the evidence-policy ‘gap,’ such as What Works Centres in the UK, Productivity Commissions in Australia and New Zealand, or the What Works Clearinghouse in the United States. Unfortunately, the existing literature isn’t clear about what knowledge brokering is, and whether it works. Continue reading Knowledge brokering for policy: What do we know?
Journal Manager of Policy & Politics
In celebration of this year’s APPAM research conference theme on diverse perspectives on issues and evidence, we bring you our latest research on that topic. To read the original research, download the articles below which are free to access until 31st January 2020. Happy reading! Continue reading Policy & Politics Winter Highlights collection free to access from 6 November 2019– 31st January 2020.
Richard D. French
This blog post was originally published on the Discover Society – Policy and Politics blog on 2 January 2019.
I have watched an enthusiastic, well-intentioned lobby for evidence-based policy on my campus for several years. However, I frequently reflect that if I were to opine publicly on evolutionary biology, or astrophysics, with as little knowledge of the subject as various scientifically trained persons hold forth on public policy, I would soon be read out of the intellectually reputable part of the university community – and rightly so.
Continue reading Is it time to give up on evidence-based policy? Four answers
Journal Manager of Policy & Politics
In celebration of this year’s APPAM theme of improving policy-making by developing and engaging with evidence, we bring you the latest and best of our research on this topic. From our prize-winning article on Evidence translation: an exploration of policy makers’ use of evidence by Jo Ingold and Mark Monaghan, which defines a new conceptual model of evidence translation highlighting the crucial role evidence plays in the policy process, to Richard French’s exploration of answers to the question whether it is time to give up on evidence based policy.
Continue reading Free research articles for APPAM 2018 from Policy & Politics on improving policy-making by engaging with evidence