2nd Edition

Evidence-Based Policymaking Envisioning a New Era of Theory, Research, and Practice

    430 Pages 12 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    430 Pages 12 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    New thinking is needed on the age-old conundrum of how to connect research and policymaking. Why does a disconnect exist between the research community, which is producing thousands of studies relevant to public policy, and the policy community, which is making thousands of decisions that would benefit from research evidence? The second edition updates community dissonance theory and provides an even stronger, more substantiated story of why research is underutilized in policymaking, and what it will take to connect researchers and policymakers. This book offers a fresh look into what policymakers and the policy process are like, as told by policymakers themselves and the researchers who study and work with them.

    New to the second edition:

    • The point of view of policymakers is infused throughout this book based on a remarkable new study of 225 state legislators with an extraordinarily high response rate in this hard-to-access population.

    • A new theory holds promise for guiding the study and practice of evidence-based policy by building on how policymakers say research contributes to policymaking.

    • A new chapter features pioneering researchers who have effectively influenced public policy by engaging policymakers in ways rewarding to both.

    • A new chapter proposes how an engaged university could provide culturally competent training to create a new type of scholar and scholarship.

    This review of state-of-the-art research on evidence-based policy is a benefit to readers who find it hard to keep abreast of a field that spans the disciplines of business, economics, education, family sciences, health services, political science, psychology, public administration, social work, sociology, and so forth.

    For those who study evidence-based policy, the book provides the basics of producing policy relevant research by introducing researchers to policymakers and the policy process. Strategies are provided for identifying research questions that are relevant to the societal problems that confront and confound policymakers. Researchers will have at their fingertips a breath-taking overview of classic and cutting-edge studies on the multi-disciplinary field of evidence-based policy.

    For instructors, the book is written in a language and style that students find engaging. A topic that many students find mundane becomes germane when they read stories of what policymakers are like, and when they learn of researcher’s tribulations and triumphs as they work to build evidence-based policy. To point students to the most important ideas, the key concepts are highlighted in text boxes.

    For those who desire to engage policymakers, a new chapter summarizes the breakthroughs of several researchers who have been successful at driving policy change. The book provides 12 innovative best practices drawn from the science and practice of engaging policymakers, including insights from some of the best and brightest researchers and science communicators. The book also takes on the daunting task of evaluating the effectiveness of efforts to engage policymakers around research. A theory of change identifies seven key elements that are fundamental to increasing policymaker’s use of research along with evaluation protocols and preliminary evidence on each element.

    Part 1. The Problem, the Players, and the Policy Process 1. Why There is a Disconnect Between Research and Policy, and What We Can Do 2. The History of Evidence-Based Policymaking: A Long-Held Dream 3. Understanding Policymakers: Insights from Science 4. Understanding the Policy Process: Insights from Insiders Part 2. Envisioning a New Era of Theory, Research, and Evaluation 5. How Policymakers Say They Use Research: A Fresh Theoretical Perspective 6. Configuring the Research and Policy Communities: Creating an Archipelago 7. Why Research is Underutilized in Policymaking: Community Dissonance Theory 8. Evaluating Efforts to Communicate Research to Policymakers: A Theory of Change in Action Part 3. Envisioning a New Era of Practice 9. When Researchers Successfully Engaged Policymakers: Breakthroughs Do Happen! 10. Engaging Policymakers: Best Practices from Those Who Study it and Do It 11. Approaching Policymakers: The Critical Choice of Advocacy or Education 12. Creating Cultural Competence Now and in the Next Generation


    Karen Bogenschneider is a Rothermel-Bascom professor emeritus of Human Ecology at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Her expertise is the study, teaching, and practice of evidence-based family policy. She founded and directed the Wisconsin Family Impact Seminars for 25 years and provided leadership for the Family Impact Institute for 15 years.

    Thomas J. Corbett is a senior scientist emeritus and retired Associate Director of the Institute for Research on Poverty at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. He taught social policy, as well as consulted at all levels of government throughout his academic career.

    'Students frequently ask me how to become a policy-relevant researcher. I always tell them four things: Become an outstanding scientist; talk to policymakers until you have a deep understanding of the important questions they need answered; design research that begins with these questions, rather than expect to "retrofit" your research findings after the studies are done; and learn how to write for a general audience. I now have a fifth piece of advice: Read and reread this spectacular book by Bogenschneider and Corbett. No one better understands how to effectively bridge research, policy, and practice. It deserves to be widely read by researchers and policymakers alike.'

    Laurence Steinberg, Distinguished University Professor of Psychology, Temple University, USA

    'Bogenschneider and Corbett draw upon systematic research and scholarship as well as their own rich experiences working with policymakers to provide an unusual and insightful roadmap for bridging the academic and political worlds. They rely heavily on the perspectives of state officials who are charged with the responsibility for translating broad federal policy goals and general scholarly lessons into specific actions. Anyone interested in pursuing the common good and moving beyond blind partisanship will find this book invaluable.'

    Dennis L. Dresang, Professor Emeritus of Public Policy and Political Science, University of Wisconsin-Madison, USA