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    How funder pressures can torpedo the credibility of research – the cautionary tale of Google and New America

How funder pressures can torpedo the credibility of research – the cautionary tale of Google and New America

With policy recommendations subject to ever greater scrutiny – not only of their viability but also the credibility of their sources of expertise – many think tanks and research institutions invest considerable time and effort into building and nurturing a reputation for research quality and intellectual independence. However, this most valuable asset remains extremely precarious. Till Bruckner recounts the […]

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    Policymaking must become more empathetic rather than continuing its current overreliance on economic measures

Policymaking must become more empathetic rather than continuing its current overreliance on economic measures

In many cases policymaking is conducted without engaging with the public. It is economic measures, rather than any official public consultation, that inform monetary policy, for example. But does this contribute to the perception of policymakers as “out of touch”? Emmanuel Lee argues that policymaking must become more empathetic, with aggregate economic measures often failing to accurately reflect the […]

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    Women academics and those from BAME backgrounds engage less with Parliament. But why?

Women academics and those from BAME backgrounds engage less with Parliament. But why?

Despite the current UK Parliament being more diverse than ever, it remains the case that academics who engage with Parliament are somewhat less representative. Women, those based outside London, and those from BAME backgrounds are significantly less likely to give evidence to select committees, for example. Sarah Foxen describes the drive across Parliament to address this problem and improve […]

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    Book Review: The Politics of Evidence: From Evidence-Based Policy to the Good Governance of Evidence by Justin Parkhurst

Book Review: The Politics of Evidence: From Evidence-Based Policy to the Good Governance of Evidence by Justin Parkhurst

In The Politics of Evidence: From Evidence-Based Policy to the Good Governance of Evidence, available open access, Justin Parkhurst provides a detailed synthesis of the debates surrounding evidence-based policy (EBP) as well as a governance framework for managing EBP. This is a comprehensive overview of the advantages and limitations of this approach that offers constructive insight into ensuring the judicious and careful use of […]

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    A more interdisciplinary approach can help us understand why research evidence does or doesn’t make it into policy

A more interdisciplinary approach can help us understand why research evidence does or doesn’t make it into policy

Effective communication of research is often cited as being most important to gaining the attention of policymakers. This arguably underestimates the sheer complexity of the policymaking process, assuming a linear route from evidence to policy and practice. Fiona Blyth and Carmen Huckel Schneider explain why breaking down walls between different academic disciplines could enhance our understanding of why research […]

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    Gained in translation: adding value to research to inform policy

Gained in translation: adding value to research to inform policy

Within the social sciences, translating and sharing new knowledge is now common practice amongst many researchers and institutions across academia. From evidence briefings and summaries of literature to online blogs and presentations, a wide range of research evidence aims to engage policy and practitioner audiences so they can more easily access and use the evidence. Raj Patel questions whether […]

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    Universities under purdah: maintaining impartiality or restricting academic freedom?

Universities under purdah: maintaining impartiality or restricting academic freedom?

Is purdah, intended to maintain the impartiality of the civil service, infringing on university researchers’ independence at a time when their expertise is most needed? Bob Ward explains the rules and argues that the next government should undertake a review of the guidance available, in order to ensure that purdah does not harm the public interest in the future.
University […]

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    Think tanks can transform into the standard-setters and arbiters of quality of 21st century policy analysis

Think tanks can transform into the standard-setters and arbiters of quality of 21st century policy analysis

In recent years, think tanks have been beset by financial constraints, increased competition, and, more recently, a growing questioning of, and popular dissatisfaction with, the role of the ‘expert’ itself. Marcos Gonzalez Hernando, Diane Stone and Hartwig Pautz examine each of these challenges and find that, at a time of huge over-supply of (occasionally dubious) evidence and policy analysis […]

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    Think tanks, evidence and policy: democratic players or clandestine lobbyists?

Think tanks, evidence and policy: democratic players or clandestine lobbyists?

Depending on your perspective, think tanks either enrich the democratic space by conducting policy research and facilitating public dialogue and debate, or undermine democracy by pushing policies favoured by powerful corporate interests. Till Bruckner explains how Transparify are contributing to debate about think tanks’ role in evidence-based policymaking by assessing their levels of financial transparency. The Transparify report, released […]

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    ‘Rubbing shoulders’: an understanding of networks, relationships and everyday practices is key to parliamentary engagement

‘Rubbing shoulders’: an understanding of networks, relationships and everyday practices is key to parliamentary engagement

Relationships and networks have a big impact on parliamentary engagement. Understanding these dynamics is crucial for those academics looking to work with Parliament as part of disseminating their research. Marc Geddes, Katharine Dommett and Brenton Prosser outline why academics must be able to ‘rub shoulders’ with parliamentary staff, building shared understandings and personal trust which can circumvent common barriers […]

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    What does Big Data mean to public affairs research? Understanding the methodological and analytical challenges

What does Big Data mean to public affairs research? Understanding the methodological and analytical challenges

The term ‘Big Data’ is often misunderstood or poorly defined, especially in the public sector. Ines Mergel, R. Karl Rethemeyer, and Kimberley R. Isett provide a definition that adequately encompasses the scale, collection processes, and sources of Big Data. However, while recognising its immense potential it is also important to consider the limitations when using Big Data as a […]

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December 8th, 2016|Big data, Policymaking|1 Comment|
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    Measuring the societal impact of research: references to climate change research in relevant policy literature

Measuring the societal impact of research: references to climate change research in relevant policy literature

A new metric offers insight into the societal impact of scholarly research by tracking the mentions of academic publications in policy documents. Lutz Bornmann, Robin Haunschild and Werner Marx have studied the usefulness of this metric, taking climate change research as their example, and found only a low percentage of papers were referenced in the relevant literature. Does this […]

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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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