Researchers Imply, Policymakers Infer: the Relationship Between Evidence and Policy

April 7, 2014 | Journal Article

Authors: Pete Lunn
Journal of the Statistical and Social Inquiry Society of Ireland , Vol. XLII , 2012-13, 2012-13 , pp. 96-108

This paper considers what Ireland might learn from the growing body of international literature on the relationship between evidence and policy. It argues that the potential contribution of evidence to policy is generally underestimated in Ireland and that policymakers could make greater and better use of evidence. It cautions, however, that good policy cannot be inferred from objective evidence alone – subjective and normative considerations will always play a part. Lastly, the paper describes promising innovations in the relationship between evidence and policy in several other countries, whereby research and policymaking have been integrated to a greater extent than heretofore. Ireland might learn from these developments, though it is important to ensure that any increased integration of research and policymaking is accompanied by mechanisms designed to ensure that researchers strive for objectivity.

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