Book Review: Beyond Evidence-Based Policy in Public Health: The Interplay of Ideas by Katherine Smith

In this book, Katherine Smith offers an insightful analysis of evidence-based policy, providing an interesting typology with which to deepen our exploration of the relationship between research and policy. Lee Gregory finds it a rare book which captures the reader, inviting self-reflection upon how one can engage with research either as an academic, an advocate, or policymaker, and their own research.  This […]

Future approaches to gangs and youth violence would benefit from being evidence-based

Research by Project Oracle into gang and youth violence found that the strongest indication of a positive impact has come from targeted, comprehensive, multi-agency initiatives. However, there were significant caveats in the available evidence. In particular, few programmes or projects in London had measured the effect of their work on levels of gang and violent behaviour. Simon McMahon writes that a first step in […]

October 21st, 2013|Simon McMahon|1 Comment|

“Doubt is Our Product”: It’s vital that scientists engage with the public and the media to ensure that their research is accurately represented

Recent research by Marcus Munafò and colleagues suggested that standardised cigarette packs increase the prominence of health warnings in non-smokers and light smokers. Interestingly, they didn’t see this in regular smokers. However, the research was misrepresented by British American Tobacco, who used it to argue that “plain packaging may actually reduce smokers’ attention to warnings”. He argues that scientists have the responsibility to make sure […]

Advocates of RCTs in education should look more closely at the differences between medical research and education research

Neil Davies reflects on recent debates about randomised controlled trials (RCTs) and education research. While the renewed attention given to  education is certainly welcome, the focus on RCTs has obscured the crucial differences between medical research and educational research, with the latter being chronically underfunded.  How much does the government spend on education research? How much should they spend on research? These questions […]

Evidence-based practice: why number-crunching tells only part of the story

Rebecca Allen welcomes greater attention and government funding towards randomised controlled trials (RCTs) in education. But further conversations are still needed on how best to design and implement these trials given diverse educational contexts and difficulties in gathering accurate data. The social science model of research is not ‘what works?’ but rather ‘what works for whom and under what conditions?’ As a quantitative researcher […]

The current debate about ‘evidence centres’ obscures a broader transformation in how policy is evaluated

The Government was widely praised for its recent commitment to establishing ‘evidence centres’ to evaluate the efficacy of social policy. However Will Davies argues that the enthusiasm for the empirical evaluation of policy outcomes is part of a broader shift from economics to medical research as the gold standard for policy knowledge. He fears that this mentality serves to obscure the […]

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. The role of scientific evidence within policy is one of the most vexed issues within politics […]

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. This article first appeared on the LSE’s Impact of Social Sciences blog I have been meaning for some time to write a response […]

November 10th, 2012|Uncategorized|0 Comments|

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This work by British Politics and Policy at LSE is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported.