The William T. Grant Foundation has long supported research to improve the lives of young people, but we know that there is considerable distance between the research we support and youth outcomes. For the past ten years the Foundation has supported studies to build theory and empirical evidence on ways to strengthen the connections between research evidence, decision making, and youth outcomes.
In our efforts to build this field, we have compiled syllabi from courses focused on the use of research evidence in policy or practice. We hope that instructors will find them helpful for teaching and learning about the use of research.
- The Role of Research in Policy and Practice
Cynthia Coburn and Alice Huguet, Northwestern University
This course is focused on exploring lessons learned from empirical research on the role of research evidence in policy and practice. Students learn to compare the efficacy of various approaches to using research in policy and practice.
- Toward Organizations That Learn: Integrating Research and Practice in Education Systems
Carrie Conaway, Harvard Graduate School of Education
This course is focused on the ways that education agencies can become learning organizations and improve their work through the use of research evidence. Students learn to evaluate the relevance of different types of evidence for decision-making, study the organizational conditions and contexts that promote research use, and consider different ways to integrate research and practice to promote learning and improvement within education organizations.
- The Politics of Research
Jeffrey Henig, Teachers College, Columbia University
This course is focused on the interplay between politics and research in the policymaking process, and the implications of these interactions for both researchers and decision makers.
- Evidence-Based Management
Denise Rousseau, Carnegie Mellon University
This course is focused on training managers to utilize principles of evidence-based management in their work. Students learn to find, interpret, and use scientific evidence; implement evidence-based processes for decision making; and build an evidence-based management culture within an organization.
- Evidence-Based Policymaking
Hilary Shager, University of Wisconsin, Madison
This course is devoted to exploring the theory and skills to understand how policymakers use research evidence in their work, how researchers can make their work useful to policymakers, and how stakeholders use research and other types of evidence to shape policy.
- The Role of Evidence in Public Policy
Miron Straf, Social and Decision Analytics Laboratory (SDAL) The Biocomplexity Institute of Virginia Tech
This course is focused on the use of social science research from multiple disciplines in policy decision-making. Students, future policymakers, and policy actors learn to promote the use of research in public policy processes.
- Understanding Public Policy
Paul Cairney, University of Stirling
While this course is not strictly focused on the use of research evidence, this undergraduate course enables students to develop an understanding of the policymaking process (with some attention to the theory of evidence-based policymaking), and could be very informative for instructors developing a course focused on the use of research evidence in the policy process.
- A Roadmap for Policy Change: A New Approach to Evidence-Based Policy-Making
Center for Government Excellence, Johns Hopkins University
This digital book was produced by the Center for Government Excellence at Johns Hopkins University. Its aim is to create a “demand for evidence” among policymakers, and sections address various topics related to the use of research evidence, such as developing relationships with researchers, formulating research questions to inform policy decisions, accessing research evidence, and working with a range of evidence.
- Evidence Masterclass and Using Research Evidence: A Practice Guide
Nesta Alliance for Useful Evidence
This combined set of resources was produced by the Alliance for Useful Evidence to guide policy decision-makers as they learn to assess, interpret, and use research evidence in their work. The Evidence Masterclass course outline offers an overview of a one-day training that draws from the content of the Using Research Evidence Practice Guide.
- Training Researchers to Inform Policy: Workshop Participant Supplement
Scholars Strategy Network
This manual, designed to supplement the Scholars Strategy Network’s Policy Engagement Workshop, provides researchers with insight into how to develop relationships with policymakers and how their research can inform the policy decision-making process.