Evidence & Policy's Most Read Articles

Read Evidence & Policy's top 5 most downloaded articles published in 2023. All of these articles are Open Access.

Evidence and Policy Most Read Articles

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Background:

Although lawmakers play an essential role in policymaking, there is no systematic review on the use of research evidence in legislatures.

Aims and objectives:

To examine types of research use and factors facilitating and hindering use in legislatures.

Methods:

We conducted a systematic review of studies in legislatures, regardless of geographical region or year of publication. We included empirical studies irrespective of the methodology employed. Thematic synthesis was used to synthesise the type of use and the facilitating and hindering factors to using research evidence in parliaments. We included 21 studies.

Findings:

The most frequently observed type of utilisation was the use for symbolic or tactical purposes. Forms of use specific to legislatures were also identified, such as to prepare questions and debates and to help build consensus. Four categories of factors seen as facilitators or barriers were found: institution and organisation, research characteristics, policy and political context, and individual characteristics. Some factors had already been identified in previous reviews, while others seem to apply exclusively to legislatures.

Discussion and conclusions:

The review identified types of use of research evidence observed in legislatures and developed a new categorisation of factors that may promote or hinder evidence use in this institutional setting. It highlighted a need for more research beyond the US, in unicameral legislatures and in countries with a parliamentary form of government. Content analysis of parliamentary debates in legislative assembly or committee to examine the use of research evidence seems to be underused.

Open access
Author:

Background:

There has been a widespread call to adopt evidence-based practices and policies in various fields, including healthcare, education, social work, criminal justice, business management, and environmental management.

Key points:

This article discusses when it is justified for an individual or organisation to claim that a specific practice or policy is evidence-based. My argument is that this is the case if, and only if, three conditions are met. First, the individual or organisation possesses comparative evidence about the effects of the specific practice or policy in comparison to the effects of at least one alternative practice or policy. Second, the specific practice or policy is supported by this evidence according to at least one of the individual’s or organisation’s preferences in the given practice or policy area. Third, the individual or organisation can provide a sound account for this support by explaining the evidence and preferences that lay the foundation for the claim.

Conclusions and implications:

My argument has at least three noteworthy implications. First, it is possible that some, but not others, are justified in claiming a given practice or policy is evidence-based. Second, being justified in claiming that a practice or policy is evidence-based does not imply that this practice or policy ought to be implemented, not even according to the claimant. Third, the individual’s or organisation’s preferences ought to guide the collection of evidence to help them identify what the best practices and policies are based on their normative stance.

Open access

Background:

Obesity evidence-based policies (EBPs) can make a lasting, positive impact on community health; however, policy development and enactment is complex and dependent on multiple forces.

Aims and objectives:

This study investigated key factors affecting municipal officials’ policymaking for obesity and related health disparities.

Methods:

Semi-structured interviews were conducted with 20 local officials from a selection of municipalities with high obesity or related health disparities across the United States between December 2020 and April 2021.

Findings:

Policymakers follow a general decision-making process with limited distinction between health and other policy areas. Factors affecting policymaking included: being informed about other local, state, and federal policy, conducting their own research using trustworthy sources, and seeking constituent and stakeholder perspectives. Key facilitators included the need for timely, relevant local data, and seeing or hearing from those impacted. Key local policymaking barriers included constituent opposition, misinformation, controversial issues with contentious solutions, and limited understanding of the connection between issues and obesity/health. Policymakers had a range of understanding about causes of health disparities, including views of individual choices, environmental influences on behaviours, and structural factors impacting health. To address health disparities, municipal officials described: a variety of roles policymakers can take; limitations based on the scope of government; challenges with intergovernmental collaboration or across government levels; ability of policymakers and government employees to understand the problem; and the challenge of framing health disparities given the social-political context.

Discussion and conclusion:

Understanding factors affecting the uptake of EBPs can inform local-level interventions that encourage EBP adoption.

Open access

Background:

This article comes in response to two gaps within the research use literature: a lack of work on quality of use as distinct from quality of evidence, and a lack of research use models based on practitioner, as opposed to researcher, perspectives.

Aims and objectives:

The study probes into the views of education practitioners about ‘using research well’, and explores: (1) the extent to which those views align with or differ from a conceptual framework of quality research use; and (2) whether and how practitioner views can provide deeper insights into quality use of research in practice.

Methods:

The article draws on open-text survey (n=492) and interview (n=27) responses from Australian teachers and school leaders, which were analysed in relation to components of the Quality Use of Research Evidence (QURE) Framework.

Findings:

There was considerable alignment between the practitioners’ views and the QURE Framework, but greater recognition for certain enablers such as ‘skillsets’ and ‘leadership’, as compared with others, such as ‘relationships’ and ‘infrastructure’. The practitioners’ accounts provided nuanced descriptions and elaborations of different aspects of using research well.

Discussion and conclusions:

The findings suggest that: the QURE Framework has empirical validity as a way of conceptualising quality research use; practitioners’ views on using research well can inform future capacity building efforts; and research use as a field needs far more work that is focused on the quality of use and the perspectives of users.

Open access

Background:

Transformative Innovation Policy (TIP) encompasses a variety of policy frameworks that seek to use the potential of science, technology, and innovation to address societal challenges. To do so, it relies on inclusive co-creation processes for the design, implementation and evaluation programmes and policies that can drive systemic transformation towards sustainability.

Aims and objectives:

To date there are few empirical studies available on how this co-creation approach can be implemented at the level of programmes and projects working on transformative innovation, and what specific competences, processes and functions are required for the successful implementation of this framework. This paper seeks to provide empirical evidence on how to implement TIP at the project level.

Key conclusions:

This paper shows the importance of adaptability and modularity of processes that are used to translate the TIP framework to a specific context, allowing and encouraging processes of adaptation by project partners and other stakeholders. Secondly, we highlight how knowledge services can be used to translate and negotiate meaning for complex frameworks, resulting in the production of new knowledge that is not only contextually relevant, but that feeds into a larger pool of evidence of how theories apply to real-world cases. Thirdly, it highlights the importance of building teams with skills such as facilitation, brokering, communication, translation and embedding of science-based concepts and frameworks, and the ability to lead processes of co-design that ensure coherence across different interventions while being adaptable to varied project contexts.

Open access