Narrative has been observed to be central to the policy process – constituting public policy instruments, persuading decision makers and the public, and shaping all stages of the policy process. This article distils useful policy advice, which can be employed by scholars and practitioners alike. We call attention to two potential communication pitfalls to which practitioners are likely to fall prey: (1) the knowledge fallacy, and (2) the empathy fallacy. We then focus our discussion on ‘intervention points’ where narrative can play an important role, drawing attention to recent narrative research, which provides the strongest basis for overcoming communication fallacies. Based on arguments presented here, policy actors can construct better narratives to accomplish their policy goals, while scholars can better understand how narratives are constructed and the intervention points where narratives might be observed and therefore studied.
Numerous published efforts have compared and contrasted policy process theories. Few assessments, however, have examined the extent to which they are inclusive or diverse. Here we summarise lessons from previous assessments, paying attention to how Paul Sabatier’s science-based criteria have shaped the contours of the field. In looking at these contours, we explore evidence of diversity and inclusivity of policy process approaches in terms of methods, concepts, topics, geography and authors. We conclude with strategies to address challenges revealed by our examination: creating space for conversations among scholars of differing perspectives and approaches; building sustained and meaningful efforts to recruit and train researchers with diverse backgrounds; establishing research coordination networks that focus on policy problems; and creating better metrics to assess our diversity and inclusivity.