In this essay, Kim DuMont urges advocates for evidence-based policy to attend to the evidence on getting evidence used, and calls on researchers to test new models that take into account the social side of evidence use.
In this post, we share some observations about the work that has been proposed thus far, as well as tips for potential applicants as they prepare their letters of inquiry.
We want to know what it takes to get research evidence used and what happens when it is used.
What steps can we take to ensure that access to big data leads to the production of high-quality, useful research evidence? And what else do we need to know to ensure that this evidence is ultimately used by decision makers in ways that benefit youth?
The potential of big data is multiplied when researchers are able to use it to produce work that is relevant to the leaders who make decisions about policies and practices that affect young people.
What steps can we take to ensure that access to big data leads to the production of high-quality, useful research evidence?
In 2009, we launched an initiative to study research use in the worlds of policy and practice. Staff assumed that knowing more about the potential users of research would improve the production and use of research, which we defined as empirical evidence derived from systematic methods and analyses. Findings are now accumulating. This essay takes stock of what we are learning about the acquisition, interpretation, and use of research evidence, and briefly describes our call for proposals, cross-cutting themes, and key unanswered questions.
Research evidence has the potential to contribute to child welfare policy and practice, but we know little about its use and impact. We need stronger theories about how decision-makers engage with research evidence. We need studies that explore who uses research, when and why it is called upon, and how it is shared. We also need to understand how child welfare decision-makers integrate research with other types of evidence.