Evidence & Policy
A journal of research, debate and practice

Pathways to policy impact: a new approach for planning and evidencing research impact

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Mark S. ReedNewcastle University, UK

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Rosalind BryceUniversity of the Highlands and Islands, UK

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Ruth MachenNewcastle University, UK

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Background

The use of research in policy settings is complex, unpredictable and influenced by a range of poorly understood social factors. This makes it difficult to plan for, facilitate and evaluate policy impacts arising from research.

Aims and objectives

Methods

Social Network Analysis, qualitative analysis of semi-structured interviews, and analysis of secondary data were used in a case study of peatland climate change research in Scottish Government policy.

Findings

Boundary organisations and centrally-positioned, well-trusted individuals, were crucial to the development of a trusted body of research in which policymakers were sufficiently confident as the basis for policy.

Discussion and conclusions

The non-linear social dynamics that characterise science-policy networks can be understood and evaluated. By using the tools described in this paper, researchers and other stakeholders can better plan, facilitate and evaluate research impact.

Mark S. ReedNewcastle University, UK

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Rosalind BryceUniversity of the Highlands and Islands, UK

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Ruth MachenNewcastle University, UK

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