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Evidenced-based policy making in the social sciences: Methods that Matter

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Abstract

Drawing on the insights of some of the world’s leading authorities in public policy analysis, this important book offers a distinct and critical showcase of emerging forms of discovery for policy-making. Chapter by chapter this expert group of social scientists showcase their chosen method or approach, showing the context, the method’s key features and how it can be applied in practice, including the scope and limitations of its application and value to policy makers. Arguing that it is not just econometric analysis, cost benefit or surveys that can do policy work, the contributors demonstrate a range of other methods that can provide evidenced-based policy insights and how they can help facilitate progressive policy outcomes. The book will be ideal for upper level undergraduate students as well as Public Policy post-graduates, and can be used as the basis of an intensive learning experience for policy makers.

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... According to Stoker & Evans (2016), it is important to remember that policy papers and briefs are usually geared towards a non-academic audience that frequently does not have extensive expertise in the topic. Policy briefs often focus on narrow topics that diagnose an issue, present alternatives and, if there is enough evidence to support a definitive stance, recommend a solution (International Centre for Policy Advocacy [ICPA], 2017). ...
... While this paper has focused on how to draft a policy brief targeted towards high-level policymakers who need to make a decision at a point in time, it is also important to remember the power of exemplars, images and narrative. Statistics are important, but stories and images about the human impact of the proposed solution can turn facts to life and be a highly effective addition to the briefing (Stoker & Evans, 2016). This is particularly the case if the brief is designed to initiate dialogue and advocate for a new position that has not been previously addressed (JR McKenzie Trust, 2011). ...
... Reducing a multitude of evidence to a two-page briefing is not an easy task, but one that is essential if research is to be turned into policy action (ICPA, 2017). With education and practice, briefing skills can be developed that offer succinct, impactful information to decision-makers enabling them to craft timely, evidence-based policy (Stoker & Evans, 2016). Such efforts are important if the hard work of nurse researchers is to shape practice and improve population health ( Jacobs et al. 2012). ...
Article
Aim: To provide a framework for the production of policy briefs, and offer a practical example of how evidence can be turned into a succinct document to inform policy and bring about change targeted at delivering universal health coverage. Introduction: Policymakers are too busy, or do not have the necessary expertise, to read and comprehend complex scientific papers. As a result, policy briefs that capture and present the essential points are needed if evidence-informed policy is to be developed and implemented. Method: A two-page example of how evidence from meta-analytical and systematic reviews can be presented to identify options and recommendations to address a major global disease burden. Results: The example uses a simple, seven-section template for developing a policy brief. The essential characteristics of each section are provided. The briefing, targeted at the global level, provides information on the major challenges associated with the treatment of individuals with diabetes. Discussion and conclusions: This paper demonstrates how to use existing research evidence to address the pursuit of UHC relevant to a wide range of geographies, settings or disadvantaged groups. Implications for policy: Gaps in universal health coverage and major disease burdens such as diabetes can be pursued through entities such as country-based Nursing Now groups. In addition, ongoing opportunities exist through the International Council of Nurses annual International Nurses Day and WHO's regular regional meetings to inform and influence policy discussions at national and subnational levels. By focusing on a small number of global topics each year, measurable changes in addressing the burden of disease can be achieved while simultaneously keeping the nursing profession's contribution centre stage.
... In the public policy literature, there has been a renewed interest in using evidence to support policymaking (Stoker and Evans, 2016). In turn, there have been vigorous exchanges about what we mean by 'evidence-based' policymaking (EBP). ...
... 4 University College London, Institute of Education University of London, London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, University of Southampton, Birkbeck, University of Surrey, Cardiff University and University of Dundee. 5 In public policy generally, adherents to the EBP model include: Cartwright and Hardie, 2012;Davies et al, 2000;Haynes et al, 2012;Stoker and Evans, 2016;and John et al, 2011. In policing studies, proponents include: Sherman, 1998;Neyroud, 2011: Lum et al, 2011;Welsh, 2006;and Braga et al, 1999. ...
Article
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This article explores the use of evidence and other varieties of knowledge in police decision-making. It surveys official government policy, demonstrating that evidence-based policy-making is the dominant policy-making paradigm in the United Kingdom. It discusses the limits to social science knowledge in policy-making. The article explores four ideas associated with the notion of ‘experience’: occupational culture; institutional memory; local knowledge, and craft, drawing on data from four UK police forces. We discuss the limits to experiential knowledge and conclude that experience is crucial to evidence-based policing and decision-making because it is the key to weaving the varieties of knowledge together.
... 157-158). Supporters claim that not enough information is passed on to decision-makers, and that policy outcomes could be improved if decision-makers had better access to better information and were more likely to absorb this information (Stoker & Evans, 2016). Critics claim there are natural impediments to the flow and usage of information, namely the processes of political bargaining and the values orientations that are inherent in policy-making, and that such impediments cannot be overcome (e.g. ...
... Therefore, a focus on data collection and knowledge translation (e.g. Stoker & Evans, 2016) is unlikely to be an effective method of addressing wicked problems. ...
Article
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Complex or intractable policy problems, often called ‘wicked’ problems, have been a feature of public policy research since the early 1970s. Observers have generally assumed that these wicked problems constitute a distinct category of policy problems, based on the notion that some problems – those characterised as substantially technical or scientific in nature – lend themselves to traditional linear problem-solving methods, whereas other problems that are social in nature tend to be wicked. By examining three cases where scientific knowledge is central to the debate – climate change, genetically modified foods and hydraulic fracturing – we argue that all policy problems can exhibit wicked tendencies, regardless of the amount of scientific information available to decision-makers. Therefore, the reliance on increased information in resolving wicked problems is unlikely to be sufficient or effective.
... While researchers do not primarily strive at informing policy decisions but rather are seeking to publish their results in scientific outlets (which can take a long time), policymakers need timely and relevant information depending on the deadlines set by the policy processes . These two issues are thus major obstacles to EBP (Cairney 2016;Stoker and Evans 2016). The appropriate limits of the expert's role in policymaking have also been widely discussed: Scientists can see their roles as merely informative without regard to the final policy decision, explicitly engage in issue-advocating, or find a balance in the role of "honest broker" by providing politicians with various policy alternatives (Pielke 2007). ...
Article
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This article studies how different systems of policy advice are suited to provide relevant knowledge in times of acute crisis. The notion of evidence-based policymaking (EBP) originated in the successful 1997 New Labour program in the United Kingdom to formulate policy based not on ideology but on sound empirical evidence. We provide a brief overview of the history of the concept and the current debates around it. We then outline the main characteristics of the policy advisory systems in Germany, Switzerland, and Italy through which scientific knowledge-in the form of either person-bound expertise or evidence generated through standard scientific processes-was fed into policy formulation processes before the COVID-19 crisis. Whereas EBP takes place in the form of institutionalized advisory bodies and draws on expertise rather than on evidence in Germany, the system in Switzerland focuses more on the use of evidence provided through external mandates. Italy has a hybrid politicized expert system. The article then analyzes how this different prioritization of expertise vs. evidence in the three countries affects policymakers' capacity to include scientific knowledge in policy decisions in times of acute crisis. The comparison of the three countries implies that countries with policy advisory systems designed to use expertise are better placed to incorporate scientific knowledge into their decisions in times of acute crisis than are countries with policy advisory systems that relied primarily on evidence before the COVID-19 crisis. Supplementary information: The online version of this article (10.1007/s11615-022-00382-x) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
... The policymaking process is complex, involving a multiplicity of stakeholders and interests. Research evidence competes with multiple other factors in the development of policy, such as political agendas, electoral tactics, the political cycle, interests of other stakeholders, technical, bureaucratic and political feasibility, costs (which has many meanings here), and gripping narratives (Stoker and Evans, 2016). Pielke (2007) contrasts Tornado Politics, where information and science play a crucial role in determining policy, with Abortion Politics, where information plays a less important role than values and power plays. ...
Article
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The claim that evidence-based policy produces better outcomes has gained increasing support over the last three decades. Knowledge brokering is seen as a way to achieve improve policy making and governments worldwide are investing significant resources in knowledge brokering initiatives. It is therefore important to understand the range of these activities and to investigate whether and how they facilitate evidence-based policy. This article critically reviews the extant literature on knowledge brokering. It identifies six important limitations: the existence of multiple definitions of knowledge brokering; a lack of theory based empirical analysis; a neglect of knowledge brokering organisations; insufficient research on knowledge brokering in social policy; limited analysis of impact and effectiveness; and a lack of attention to the role played by politics. The paper proposes an agenda for future research that bridges disciplinary boundaries in order to address these gaps and contribute new insights into the politics of evidence use.
... Ces dispositifs fournissent une « connaissance de soi » aux consommateurs et aux gestionnaires publics dans un cadre gouvernemental. Il s'agit d'alimenter des réflexions engagées sur les changements introduits par les big data dans la gouvernance des organisations et des politiques publiques [Stoker et Evans 2016, Baudot, et.al 2015, Margetts et Dunleavy, 2013. ...
Conference Paper
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Au cours des dernières années, les projets de « compteurs communicants » se sont rapidement développés faisant l’objet d’expérimentations diverses dans de nombreuses grandes villes européennes et plus particulièrement en France. Ces dispositifs font partie d’un chantier plus global de développement de réseaux intelligents (« Smart grids ») qui visent à l'automatisation de l’ensemble des réseaux de distribution électrique, depuis les sites de production jusqu’aux consommateurs en bout de ligne. Concernant les « compteurs communicants », l’idée des développeurs va au-delà d’une simple automatisation en permettant une communication bidirectionnelle entre le gestionnaire d'électricité et les usagers. L’avantage ne sera pas seulement pour les gestionnaires qui auront accès à une interopérabilité des réseaux électriques avec les équipements domotiques des particuliers, mais aussi pour les consommateurs eux-mêmes qui pourront suivre leur consommation en temps réel et adapter le cas échéant leurs comportements. Début 2011 la Métropole de Lyon accueille le projet d'expérimentation Smart Electric Lyon (SEL), mené par le groupe EDF. Ce projet lancé officiellement en 2012, regroupe une vingtaine de partenaires industriels, les grands opérateurs du secteur de l'électricité, ainsi que des chercheurs et des universitaires. Son objectif principal est de tester les nouveaux systèmes électriques innovants en mettant les consommateurs particuliers et industriels au cœur de l'expérimentation. Initié par le grand groupe EDF qui propose d’associer les systèmes de compteurs communicants et leurs technologies, le projet s'inscrit dans la perspective de faire émerger des données, nouvelles et affinées (à l'échelle des foyers), sur la manière dont les clients consomment l'énergie dans le but d'en faire des données utilisables à la fois par les gestionnaires urbains (publics et privés) mais également par les consommateurs eux-mêmes. En s’intéressant à la genèse de SEL, on découvre que la Métropole de Lyon constitue, semble-t-il depuis plusieurs années, un terrain favorable aux différentes expérimentations liées au déploiement des réseaux intelligents (Smart grids), comme par exemple le projet Linky ou Greenlys. Notre communication reviendra sur les débuts du projet SEL, ses instigateurs et ses premières mises en œuvre, avant de proposer un premier aperçu de l’écosystème lyonnais qui s’est progressivement mis en place au cours des années 2000. Cette description sera l’occasion de découvrir les rapports entre les différentes nouvelles données produites, qui informent sur la manière dont les gens « vivent leur consommation d’énergie » sur les territoire urbains et pourraient permettre à la fois l'évolution du gouvernement des systèmes de fourniture d'électricité urbains mais aussi l'évolution du comportement des citadins eux-mêmes (une sorte de « gouvernement par le bas » ou de gouvernementalité des agents pour reprendre la terminologie de Foucault) pour gérer d’avantage leur consommation d’électricité. Mots clés : Smart meter, nouvelles données, maitrise individuelle, gouvernementalité des agents, transformation des comportements
... Challenging disconnects between research and policy-making processes, such as incompatible timeframes and competing values and interests [5][6][7][8][9][10], have also been described. While a number of tools and approaches have been developed to facilitate EIPM in public health [11][12][13][14][15][16][17][18][19][20][21], we registered a lack of availability of specific indicators for EIPM. The present study aimed to overcome this challenge by building a set of measurable indicators for EIPM in the field of public health. ...
Article
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Background: Ensuring health policies are informed by evidence still remains a challenge despite efforts devoted to this aim. Several tools and approaches aimed at fostering evidence-informed policy-making (EIPM) have been developed, yet there is a lack of availability of indicators specifically devoted to assess and support EIPM. The present study aims to overcome this by building a set of measurable indicators for EIPM intended to infer if and to what extent health-related policies are, or are expected to be, evidence-informed for the purposes of policy planning as well as formative and summative evaluations. Methods: The indicators for EIPM were developed and validated at international level by means of a two-round internet-based Delphi study conducted within the European project 'REsearch into POlicy to enhance Physical Activity' (REPOPA). A total of 82 researchers and policy-makers from the six European countries (Denmark, Finland, Italy, the Netherlands, Romania, the United Kingdom) involved in the project and international organisations were asked to evaluate the relevance and feasibility of an initial set of 23 indicators developed by REPOPA researchers on the basis of literature and knowledge gathered from the previous phases of the project, and to propose new indicators. Results: The first Delphi round led to the validation of 14 initial indicators and to the development of 8 additional indicators based on panellists' suggestions; the second round led to the validation of a further 11 indicators, including 6 proposed by panellists, and to the rejection of 6 indicators. A total of 25 indicators were validated, covering EIPM issues related to human resources, documentation, participation and monitoring, and stressing different levels of knowledge exchange and involvement of researchers and other stakeholders in policy development and evaluation. Conclusion: The study overcame the lack of availability of indicators to assess if and to what extent policies are realised in an evidence-informed manner thanks to the active contribution of researchers and policy-makers. These indicators are intended to become a shared resource usable by policy-makers, researchers and other stakeholders, with a crucial impact on fostering the development of policies informed by evidence.
... Computation modelling is being implemented to inform and evaluate public policy [10][11][12]. Simulation models are increasingly used in the area of population health, and several examples exist for obesity [9,[13][14][15][16]. These models involve recreating a particular population, based on data sources collected from that population, within a computer model [17]. ...
Article
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Background: New Zealand has high rates of child overweight and obesity when compared with other countries. Despite an abundance of research documenting the problem, it is unclear what the most effective policy changes or interventions are, and how policy changes might unfold over time within complex systems. Methods: We use estimates derived from meta-analyses to create a dynamic microsimulation model of child overweight (including obesity). Using census records we created a synthetic birth cohort of 10,000 children. Information on parental education, ethnicity and father's socio-economic position at birth were taken from census records. We used the New Zealand Health Survey to estimate population base rates for the prevalence of overweight and obesity. Information on other modifiers (such as maternal smoking, breastfeeding, preterm birth, regular breakfast consumption and so forth) were taken from three birth cohorts: Christchurch Health and Development Study, The Dunedin Multidisciplinary Health and Development Study and the Pacific Islands Families Study. Published intervention studies were used to derive plausible estimates for changes to modifiers. Results: Reducing the proportion of mothers classified as overweight and obesity (-3.31(95% CI -3.55; -3.07) percentage points), reducing the proportion of children watching two or more hours of TV (-3.78(95% CI -4.01; -3.54)), increasing the proportion of children eating breakfast regularly (-1.71(95% CI -1.96; -1.46)), and reducing the proportion of children born with high birth weights (-1.36(95% CI -1.61; -1.11)), lead to sizable decreases in the estimated prevalence of child overweight (including obesity). Reducing the proportion of mothers giving birth by caesarean (-0.23(95% CI -0.49; -0.23)) and increasing parental education (-0.07(95% CI -0.31; 0.18)) did not impact upon child overweight rates. Conclusions: We created a working simulation model of New Zealand children that can be accessed by policy makers and researchers to determine known relationships between predictors and child overweight, as well as potential gains from targeting specific pathways.
... However, the work of participatory policymaking seems to be still evolving, as policymaking is often regarded as the work of elected officials and bureaucrats (Lasswell 1971;Rosenberg 1958;Stoker & Evans 2016). It is generally argued that involving citizens in the making of public policies is inherently a questionable practice because citizens may not have adequate ideas for formulating policies while governments may be unable to address all the concerns of citizens (Cupps 1977;Day 1997). ...
Thesis
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This thesis examines the participatory planning process in Nepal which is a local level policymaking process organised by municipalities to make mid-term local public policies and small-scale development programs. The empirical analysis focuses on the structure and functions of the planning process, which were redesigned to be led by appointed officials when there were no elected officials from 2002 to 2016. Although the participatory governance literature in developing countries in general is substantial, so far the participatory processes under appointed officials has received only limited attention. This thesis aims to understand if and how citizens participated in the making of local public policies and small-scale development programs in the absence of electoral politics. The empirical research undertaken for this thesis is designed as a qualitative case study, in accordance with the ideas of a single case focusing on the Butwal municipality in Nepal. The municipality has three different embedded organisational structures of planning: the Tole Bhèla, the Ward Bhèla and the Integrated Planning Formulation Committee, which are regarded respectively as informal, semi-formal and formal forums of planning for analytical purposes. A two-dimensional analytical framework comprised of the organisational structure and function of the planning process is devised to interpret the data. Data were generated through a total of 42 semi-structured interviews which were conducted between 2014 and 2016 together with the observation of several informal and formal planning forums in a specific ward in the Butwal municipality. The analysis shows that, although all planning forums have similar functions, each varies significantly in terms of who participates and how decisions are made. These variances have four general implications for Nepal’s planning processes. These include: (i) the planning process is structured in a hierarchical institutional design; (ii) bottom-level forums in the hierarchy are relatively more open than upper-level forums for citizens to participate; (iii) the more the participatory process progresses, the more formal they become; and (iv) compared with the formal forums, semi-formal and formal forums are more conducive to inclusive and representative citizen participation. The broader scholarly contribution of this research is that it provides insights about a successful case of a municipal-level participatory process. The empirical analysis of Nepal’s participatory planning process suggests that bureaucratic apparatuses which are generally not perceived as avenues for citizen participation can also be instrumental for participatory decision-making, though conclusions surrounding the accountability of participants and the legitimacy of decisions need further attention. The findings provide three key messages to the scholars and practitioners focusing on participatory planning in Nepal. First, top-down local governance reforms introduced between 2002 and 2016 contributed to changing the institutional design and processes of planning. Secondly, such changes transformed the roles of appointed officials from managers to leaders in the planning process but it was unclear to what extent appointed officials were obliged to be accountable to local communities. Finally, and perhaps most importantly, both the changed institutional design of the planning process and the changing roles of appointed officials widened the scope for citizens of different types to actively participate in the local policymaking process in municipalities.
... The first stage of the analysis involved identifying the scope of studies based on a systematic review. Systematic reviews involve the data extraction, evaluation, and synthesis of a body of research, which can be conducted iteratively with different rounds of full-text analysis (Stoker and Evans, 2016). The data used in this study were mainly obtained from the Science Citation Index Expanded (SCI-E) and Social Science Citation Index (SSCI) published in the Web of Science (WOS) core collection. ...
... Therefore, we used a mixed methods approach comprising 4 different stages: 1. A rapid scoping review of the academic literature and a systematic review of policy following the method by Gough and Tripney [42,43]. 2. A thematic analysis of policy documents published by selected GDHP member countries; the findings from this analysis and the literature review were then used to inform and contextualize the semistructured interviews and the focus group. ...
Article
Background Although advanced analytical techniques falling under the umbrella heading of artificial intelligence (AI) may improve health care, the use of AI in health raises safety and ethical concerns. There are currently no internationally recognized governance mechanisms (policies, ethical standards, evaluation, and regulation) for developing and using AI technologies in health care. A lack of international consensus creates technical and social barriers to the use of health AI while potentially hampering market competition. Objective The aim of this study is to review current health data and AI governance mechanisms being developed or used by Global Digital Health Partnership (GDHP) member countries that commissioned this research, identify commonalities and gaps in approaches, identify examples of best practices, and understand the rationale for policies. Methods Data were collected through a scoping review of academic literature and a thematic analysis of policy documents published by selected GDHP member countries. The findings from this data collection and the literature were used to inform semistructured interviews with key senior policy makers from GDHP member countries exploring their countries’ experience of AI-driven technologies in health care and associated governance and inform a focus group with professionals working in international health and technology to discuss the themes and proposed policy recommendations. Policy recommendations were developed based on the aggregated research findings. Results As this is an empirical research paper, we primarily focused on reporting the results of the interviews and the focus group. Semistructured interviews (n=10) and a focus group (n=6) revealed 4 core areas for international collaborations: leadership and oversight, a whole systems approach covering the entire AI pipeline from data collection to model deployment and use, standards and regulatory processes, and engagement with stakeholders and the public. There was a broad range of maturity in health AI activity among the participants, with varying data infrastructure, application of standards across the AI life cycle, and strategic approaches to both development and deployment. A demand for further consistency at the international level and policies was identified to support a robust innovation pipeline. In total, 13 policy recommendations were developed to support GDHP member countries in overcoming core AI governance barriers and establishing common ground for international collaboration. Conclusions AI-driven technology research and development for health care outpaces the creation of supporting AI governance globally. International collaboration and coordination on AI governance for health care is needed to ensure coherent solutions and allow countries to support and benefit from each other’s work. International bodies and initiatives have a leading role to play in the international conversation, including the production of tools and sharing of practical approaches to the use of AI-driven technologies for health care.
... In contrast, a number of authors (e.g. Evans and Stoker, 2016) reject this rationalist, positivist approach and, instead argue that policymaking is an inherently political process. So, in many cases, governments select/produce the evidence that supports the decision which they have already decided to take, often for political reasons – 'policy-based policy-making'. ...
Chapter
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Despite being a much contested concept, over the past two decades policy transfer has developed into a core method in a range of social science disciplines for analyzing the impact of processes of globalization on policy formation at different levels of governance; from the global to the local. This chapter observes that the literature has evolved from its nation state bureaucracy-centred origins to encompass a broad range of governance institutions and actors operating at difference levels of governance and sectors. It evaluates the implications of this change in scope for both the study and the practice of policy transfer and provides an understanding of the relationship between systemic globalizing forces and the increasing scope and intensity of policy transfer activity. The chapter provides: an explanation of policy transfer as a process of organizational learning; an insight into how and why such processes are studied by policy scientists; and an evaluation of its use by policy practitioners. It concludes by arguing that the limits of policy transfer analysis can be addressed through the development of an 'action learning based' approach to the study and practice of policy transfer.
... Der überwiegende Teil der Forschung zu Knowledge Brokering sieht es als selbstverständlich an, dass wissenschaftliche Erkenntnisse einen notwendigen Bestandteil von Politikgestaltung darstellen (MacKillop et al. 2020). Tatsächlich ist diese Sichtweise idealistisch und verkennt, dass sich bei der Politikformulierung nicht notwendigerweise die sachlich am besten begründbare Position durchsetzt, sondern dass es sich bei der Politikgestaltung um einen komplexen Prozess handelt, in dem ver-schiedene politische Interessen mit unterschiedlichen Wertevorstellungen um Einfluss und Deutungshoheit konkurrieren (MacKillop et al. 2020;Stoker und Evans 2016). Aufbauend darauf argumentieren wir, dass es nicht an einer rein funktionalen Komponente (mangelnder Informationsaustausch, fehlende Vernetzung, etc.) liegt, dass es selten zu evidenz-basierten Politikergebnissen kommt und Knowledge Broker keinen starken Einfluss auf die Politikgestaltung ausüben, sondern an politischen Faktoren. ...
Article
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Policymakers increasingly perceive of micropollutants in water (e.g. pharmaceutical residues) as an issue that needs to be addressed. How do environmental groups, in their capacity as knowledge brokers between science and politics, contribute to evidence-based policymaking concerning aquatic micro pollutants? To address this research question, we concentrate on Friends of the Earth Germany (BUND) and its impact on policymaking. More specifically, in this study, we are interested in the strategies of the BUND concerning the pursuit of its regulatory interests. We also examine its collaboration with policymakers in the context of stakeholder consultations and its role for the implementation of policy solutions at the local level. Our findings reveal that the BUND indeed has a reputation as a knowledge broker concerning aquatic micro pollutants. The scientific approach of this organization also materializes in the fact it is willing to change its position and policy demands in response to new empirical evidence. This article contends that the BUND’s transparency in relation to the acknowledgement of scientific uncertainty and its willingness to change its policy demands earns it the status as a knowledge broker. In consequence, it can participate in policymaking in a broader and more direct fashion. In addition, however, the BUND reaches out to the public and practices a strategy of indirect interest mediation. Thus, this study contributes to the literature by demonstrating that both direct access to policymaking and indirect interest mediation via the media and the public are used in a complementary fashion to influence policy decisions. This means that even if environmental groups have direct access to politics they will continue to seek the public in order to increase their negotiation power.
... Conventional policy making often follows a range of one-directional steps, including agenda setting, policy formulation, policy adoption and application, and policy evaluation [49]. This means that in order for the resultant policies to be evidencebased, reflective of people's needs, and have the potential to yield positive outcomes, the policy-making process is often thoroughly planned, detail-rich, time-consuming, and resource-dependent [50]-parameters that most of the pandemic-era policy-making might not be able to meet. ...
Article
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Policies shape society. Public health policies are of particular importance, as they often dictate matters in life and death. Accumulating evidence indicates that good-intentioned COVID-19 policies, such as shelter-in-place measures, can often result in unintended consequences among vulnerable populations such as nursing home residents and domestic violence victims. Thus, to shed light on the issue, this study aimed to identify policy-making processes that have the potential of developing policies that could induce optimal desirable outcomes with limited to no unintended consequences amid the pandemic and beyond. Methods: A literature review was conducted in PubMed, PsycINFO, and Scopus to answer the research question. To better structure the review and the subsequent analysis, theoretical frameworks such as the social ecological model were adopted to guide the process. Results: The findings suggested that: (1) people-centered; (2) artificial intelligence (AI)-powered; (3) data-driven, and (4) supervision-enhanced policy-making processes could help society develop policies that have the potential to yield desirable outcomes with limited unintended consequences. To leverage these strategies’ interconnectedness, the people-centered, AI-powered, data-driven, and supervision-enhanced (PADS) model of policy making was subsequently developed. Conclusions: The PADS model can develop policies that have the potential to induce optimal outcomes and limit or eliminate unintended consequences amid COVID-19 and beyond. Rather than serving as a definitive answer to problematic COVID-19 policy-making practices, the PADS model could be best understood as one of many promising frameworks that could bring the pandemic policy-making process more in line with the interests of societies at large; in other words, more cost-effectively, and consistently anti-COVID and pro-human.
... Typically EBM considers the randomized controlled trials (RCTs) as the golden standard for evidence. Results from RCTs and other experiment and quasi-experiment studies are preferred in a hierarchy of evidence despite the protest from experts who place equal weight on qualitative data, storytelling, and understanding Smith, 2013;Stoker & Evans, 2016). Because a single experiment study faces external validity (generalizability) problems, EBM advocates embrace systematic reviewing and meta-analysis to consider a large number of such studies. ...
Article
People worry that many COVID-19 decisions are not evidence based, but applying typical evidence-based management (EBM) in a pandemic seems difficult. A pandemic is characterized by uncertainty, high potential loss, time pressure, and competing values, all posing challenges to EBM. Drawing on events in government responses to COVID-19, this essay focuses on three issues: What should be considered as evidence in pandemic-like situations? How can we make evidence more accessible to decision makers in such situations? And, does evidence have a role in ethical judgments in a pandemic? The essay argues that EBM must be extended to address pandemic-like situations. The evidentiary standard should take into consideration “appropriateness,” “reasonableness,” and “intuition,” paying attention to the stages of a pandemic and the type of errors we want to avoid. In addition, the essay calls for building policy capacity in terms of coproducing and applying evidence in and outside government, as well as strengthening public managers’ capacity in evidence-based ethical analysis.
... When formulating a policy, policymakers should have sufficient knowledge about a subject, as well as theoretical and comparative studies about the same or similar policies in other jurisdictions (Dash, 2018). They require an evidence-base through the whole policy cycle (e.g., policy development, implementation, evaluation) (Stoker & Evans, 2016). Research evidence would enable policymakers to make better informed CA policy decisions. ...
Article
Living with a companion animal (CA or “pet”) often has a positive impact on quality of life and well-being. Research also highlights potential benefits of CA relationships for populations accessing social housing, which commonly includes individuals with a low income, disabilities, those at risk of homelessness, and seniors. However, it appears that CA policies in social housing organizations can present a barrier to accessing housing that allows tenants to live with CAs. There is a significant shortfall in the literature specific to CA policies in social housing. Our aim is to describe CA policies in one jurisdiction, Edmonton, Canada, and to examine decision-making processes and the sources of information used to inform those decisions within social housing organizations. We found that half of the social housing organizations do not allow cats or dogs. The organizations in our study appear to prioritize four factors when making decisions about CA policies: 1) the organization’s mission and vision; 2) the population served; 3) financial or resource constraints; and 4) the experiences and beliefs of individuals within the organization. Priority research questions are identified to address the need for evidence-informed decision making in the complex area of social housing and quality of life.
... This is often referred to as the gap between research and policy [8]. One of the factors that was identified with the dearth of research uptake in previous studies is a lack of evidence that is context sensitive, timely and relevant for policy-makers; other factors include difficulties in accessing existing evidence, challenges with correctly interpreting and using existing evidence [7,9] and also a lack of interest from policy-makers in the use and uptake of evidence [10]. Using the SNSF r4d funding scheme, our aim is to show how researchers have engaged with stakeholders, including policy-makers, from the onset of a research project, in order to identify strategies for evidence uptake and use. ...
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... The rhetoric or discourse of 'evidence' is constantly mobilised by policymakers to support, negotiate and oppose ideas. Rather than being evidence-informed, policy is highly influenced by specific contextual and political factors, such as the vagaries of time and place, prevailing ideologies and cultures, powerful interests, and constraints on time and resources (Cairney et al., 2019;Stoker & Evans, 2016). Whole books have been written on how policies get placed onto the agenda for consideration; a process that can involve considerable time, trouble and significant costs, particularly if professional lobbyists are involved. ...
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