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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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    Book Review: Evidence-Based Policy Making in the Social Sciences: Methods that Matter edited by Gerry Stoker and Mark Evans

Book Review: Evidence-Based Policy Making in the Social Sciences: Methods that Matter edited by Gerry Stoker and Mark Evans

In Evidence-Based Policy Making in the Social Sciences: Methods that Matter,editors Gerry Stoker and Mark Evans showcase tools through which to generate evidence-based policy insights. Released amidst discussions of a ‘post-truth’ era, this book is recommended to students looking to broaden their understanding of methods for providing meaningful evidence for policy creation, but leaves open the question of how social scientists […]

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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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    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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    UK research can tackle global challenges but only if we heed lessons on research impact

UK research can tackle global challenges but only if we heed lessons on research impact

The Global Challenges Research Fund (GCRF) is a £1.5 billion fund announced by the UK government to support cutting-edge research that addresses the challenges faced by developing countries. As the GCRF looks to fund interdisciplinary research and maximize its impact, James Georgalakis reflects on what can be learned from previous examples of successful evidence-based policymaking; from the importance of […]

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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 […]

Making Science Public as a route to better evidence

It is widely accepted that scientific evidence should play a role in policy decisions, yet the form that this should or could take remains subject to intense debate. Warren Pearce and Sujatha Raman discuss how the Making Science Public project attempts to address these questions. This article was first posted on the British Politics and Policy blog. The role of scientific evidence within policy is one […]

The scientist as political tourist: the perils of pairing

Pairing MPs with scientists could be a great start to a working relationship but Alex Smith doubts the scheme’s credibility. He argues that more grounded and sustained engagement with politics is needed for academic to gain a real insight into the policymaking process. BBC Radio Four’s ‘Today’ programme recently featured a scheme run by the Royal Society to promote interaction and […]

I disagree that I disagree! There is room for more than one method of evidence in policymaking

Academics should not get ‘bogged down’ in their perceptions of what methods of research government values. Kirsty Newman explains that when it comes to decision making in government, there is no universal preference for one form of research evidence over another. I have been meaning for some time to write a response to Andries de Toit’s paper Making Sense of […]

Evidence alone is not enough: policymakers must be able to access relevant evidence if their policy is to work

It is not enough to look for evidence of a previous policy success. Jeremy Hardie and Nancy Cartwright argue that exactly what evidence is needed, and of what, is the key question that needs to be asked for making real evidence-based social policy interventions. A great deal of impressive work has been done in evidence-based policymaking to help show what facts are  true– […]

How can we support the use of research in policy and practice across Europe?

The most common approach to encourage use of academic research is to repackage or communicate it in different ways, but Caroline Kenny finds this strategy largely ineffective. She argues that across Europe, both researchers and policymakers can benefit from training in how to interact with each other. The pressure on researchers to demonstrate research impact beyond academia has led to […]

An insider view on the relevance of political scientists to government

Following his work with the Cabinet Office’s Efficiency and Reform Group (ERG), Matt Wood finds that political scientists must ask themselves two questions: precisely how they hope to make impact, and which society groups they want their work to be relevant to.   Carrying out the core roles of a civil servant (conducting quick and instrumental literature searches, preparing concise […]

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