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Open Access Evidence-based policy, knowledge from experience and validity

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Evidence-based policy has at its foundation a set of ideas about what makes evidence valid so that it can be trusted in the creation of policy. This validity is frequently conceptualised in terms of rigour deriving from scientific studies which adhere to highly structured processes around data collection, analysis and inscription. In comparison, the knowledge gained from lived experience, while viewed as important for ensuring that policy meets the needs of the people it is trying to serve, is characterised by its tacit nature, unstructure and difficulty in transferring from one actor to another. Validity of experiential knowledge in policy arises from the connection of policy knowledge to the lived experience of individuals. This paper considers validity in this context through exploring four modes in which experiential knowledge is currently utilised within policy. The tensions surrounding validity in the policy context find resolution through the development of a situated notion of validity decoupled from structural rigour and recoupled to context.

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Keywords: coproduction; evidence-based policy; experiential knowledge; interpretive policy analysis; policy; validity

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: University of Sydney, Australia

Publication date: May 2020

This article was made available online on December 23, 2019 as a Fast Track article with title: "Evidence-based policy, knowledge from experience and validity".

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