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    Oral history as a method to analyse historical and cultural contexts and inform policymaking: the example of the early AIDS epidemic

Oral history as a method to analyse historical and cultural contexts and inform policymaking: the example of the early AIDS epidemic

On this World AIDS Day, Marco Scalvini and Chris Parkes describe how their new oral history project aims to create a new digital archive that will help researchers better understand the early AIDS epidemic and the new model of therapeutic alliance that emerged, in particular. Oral history is an effective research method to explore and analyse the historical and […]

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    Integrating design thinking into policymaking processes offers great value for citizens and government

Integrating design thinking into policymaking processes offers great value for citizens and government

Design thinking offers a powerful way to narrow the gap between what governments do and what citizens expect from government. Michael Mintrom and Joannah Luetjens explain how elements of design thinking, having already been successfully applied in social sciences research, are now being combined to produce powerful insights into citizen actions and their interactions with governments, and improve policymaking […]

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    Giving evidence in Parliament: training and support to engage with select committees

Giving evidence in Parliament: training and support to engage with select committees

Providing evidence to policymakers through select committees is a great way for researchers to influence current policy debates. But if you haven’t done it before, the formality of the task may appear daunting. In the third part of a series on giving evidence in Parliament, Patrick Hanley has compiled thoughts and experiences from several LSE academics and reveals tips on what support […]

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    Giving evidence in Parliament: how to make yourself known to select committees

Giving evidence in Parliament: how to make yourself known to select committees

Providing evidence to policymakers through select committees is a great way for researchers to influence current policy debates. But if you haven’t done it before, the formality of the task may appear daunting. In the second part of a series on giving evidence in Parliament, Patrick Hanley has compiled thoughts and experiences from several LSE academics and reveals their tips on how […]

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    How academics and NGOs can work together to influence policy: insights from the InterAction report

How academics and NGOs can work together to influence policy: insights from the InterAction report

Questions over how academics and the third sector can collaborate to influence policy are not new. However, Duncan Green has noted some interesting research and insights from the InterAction report published earlier this summer. Intermediaries play an increasingly crucial role, while embedded gateways can help simplify often confusing university infrastructures.

I’ve recently finished reading InterAction, a thought-provoking report that asks “How can […]

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Giving evidence in Parliament: a how-to guide for academics

Providing evidence to policymakers through select committees is a great way for researchers to influence current policy debates. But if you haven’t done it before, the formality of the task may appear daunting. Patrick Hanley has compiled thoughts and experiences from several LSE academics with their tips on preparing and giving evidence to policymakers. This is part one of a series on giving […]

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    Five Minutes with Professor Gary King: Transformational power of big data lies, pure and simple, in its analytics

Five Minutes with Professor Gary King: Transformational power of big data lies, pure and simple, in its analytics

Michael Todd listened to a recent lecture by Gary King on the big data revolution in the social sciences. Professor King insists data is easy to come by and is in fact a by-product of the many improvements in information technology. The issue isn’t its scale, volume or platform. It’s what we make out of all of that and the analytical tools […]

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    Social science at the crossroads: the history of political science in the USA and the evolution of social impact.

Social science at the crossroads: the history of political science in the USA and the evolution of social impact.

What role should social scientists play in society? Louisa Hotson explores the evolution of the social sciences through four periods in the history of political science, each with different implications for how social science makes a difference. These lessons from history encourage us to think more broadly than we have in recent decades about how we define the ‘impact’ of the social […]

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    So you want to change policy? Six steps for academics looking to achieve policy change

So you want to change policy? Six steps for academics looking to achieve policy change

The inevitable chaos and unpredictability of politics makes trying to achieve policy change a real challenge. But that doesn’t mean academics should just give up. Drawing from policy analysis and public affairs lessons, James Lloyd recommends six steps to get researchers going in the right direction towards achieving policy change.

Last month I wrote a piece for the LSE Impact blog […]

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    Redesigning integration: Access to government records is necessary for researchers to identify policy effects.

Redesigning integration: Access to government records is necessary for researchers to identify policy effects.

Especially for complex social issues like migration and integration, there is a pressing need to understand why certain policies work and others do not. Dominik Hangartner argues that when scholars are able to combine credible research designs with linked registry data and state-of-the-art targeted surveys, they have a greater chance of identifying the causal effects of policy parameters on short- […]

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    A post-mortem reflection: The impact of the social sciences on the Brexit referendum outcome.

A post-mortem reflection: The impact of the social sciences on the Brexit referendum outcome.

The UK’s referendum on remaining in the European Union or leaving it generated an avalanche of campaign information, including hundreds of interventions by social scientists. David Walker casts a sceptical eye over the experience, asking whether the wafer-thin majority for Leave signals a failure of social scientists inputs?

The 2016 Brexit referendum — how was that for a case study […]

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    Greater than the sum of its parts: How to develop collaborative networks to solve complex social issues.

Greater than the sum of its parts: How to develop collaborative networks to solve complex social issues.

Many contemporary societal challenges are complex, and span different domains of knowledge and expertise. This is especially true for environmental issues where the need for more holistic thinking is strongly articulated. But just bringing a set of diverse actors into a room does not by itself solve complex problems, argues Örjan Bodin. Solutions are often generated by networks that […]

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    How to make better mistakes in public policy: Learn from the negative results just as much as the positive ones.

How to make better mistakes in public policy: Learn from the negative results just as much as the positive ones.

We all make mistakes, a tendency which also extends to those who work in public policy. But we often only hear about successes. Bucking this trend, Kevin Arceneaux and Daniel Butler describe a recent pilot program aimed at boosting civic engagement. Rather than increasing the number of people who volunteered for town committees as intended, the three tactics they […]

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    Internet freedom for all: Public libraries have to get serious about tackling the digital privacy divide.

Internet freedom for all: Public libraries have to get serious about tackling the digital privacy divide.

Democratic engagement depends on critique and dialogue. Ian Clark looks at emerging issues related to digital literacy, online privacy and surveillance. Not only is a security divide emerging between those with digital knowledge and skills to protect themselves and those without, but also an intellectual privacy divide. There is scope for public libraries in the UK to teach the […]

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    How should academics interact with policy makers? Lessons on building a long-term advocacy strategy.

How should academics interact with policy makers? Lessons on building a long-term advocacy strategy.

What can academics learn from how civil society organisations and NGOs approach policy impact? Julia Himmrich argues that academics have a lot to gain from embracing the practices of long-term advocacy. Advocacy is about establishing relationships and creating a community of experts both in and outside of government who can give informed input on policies. Being more aware of the […]

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Is there any justification for academic social science?

The role of academic social science in relation to policymaking and practice has seen extensive discussion and disagreement in recent years. An essential starting point for our understanding, argues Martyn Hammersley, is to distinguish among the different types of social research, especially between academic work and more practical forms of inquiry. We need to start presenting a more realistic justification for […]

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    “We should expect more, not less of our profession”: Responses to ‘Should academics be expected to change policy?’

“We should expect more, not less of our profession”: Responses to ‘Should academics be expected to change policy?’

James Lloyd’s recent post “Should academics be expected to change policy? Six reasons why it is unrealistic for research to drive policy change” has received considerable attention in research and policy circles since it was first published two weeks ago. Drawing on their respective experiences with research impact in policymaking, Chris Neff, Paul Smyth and Luke Craven each offer […]

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    We need more solution-oriented social science: on changing our frames of reference and tackling big social problems.

We need more solution-oriented social science: on changing our frames of reference and tackling big social problems.

Solution-oriented social science makes solving problems the object of social science, and working on other people’s problems becomes the key driver of the problems to be solved. These solutions may be of relevance for everyday citizens or actors working in government, non-profits, or for-profits. Mark Western argues that approaching research in this way would influence how we choose problems, how we build […]

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This work by LSE Impact of Social Sciences blog is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported.