Is it time to give up on evidence-based policy? Four answers
Based on a systematic analysis of nearly 400 publications, this review article identifies four contrasting perspectives on evidence-based policy (EBP). One school of thought advocates reinforcing demands that governments pay more attention to research. A second perspective argues for the reform of the relationships between researchers and policy-makers. A third emphasises the need to reinvent formal procedures that govern the generation and use of evidence. The fourth rejects the possibility that research can simultaneously meet disciplinary standards and meaningfully address the needs of policy-makers. The paper concludes that to respond to the challenges facing EBP, researchers must develop a more realistic grasp of the task environment in which ministers and senior officials operate, reject naïve but prevalent assumptions about the level of analytical rationality in government, and recognise that direct and sustained engagement with policy-makers may not be compatible with career advancement in academia.
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