Creating and communicating social research for policymakers in government

Phoenix, Jess and Atkinson, Lucy G. and Baker, Hannah (2019) Creating and communicating social research for policymakers in government. Palgrave Communications, 5 (1). pp. 1-11. ISSN 2055-1045

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Many academics ask ‘How can I use my research to influence policy?’. In this paper, we draw on our first-hand experience as social researchers for the British Government to advise how academics can create and communicate research with policymakers. Specifically, we describe methods of communicating research to policymakers in relation to research we undertook to listen to farmers about their priorities for a new agricultural policy for England following the exit of the UK from the European Union. The main purpose of this research was to ensure farmers’ voices were included in policy development and therefore communication of the research to policymakers was key. We reflect on the effectiveness of the communication methods we employed and summarise our learnings into four practical recommendations: (1) make research relevant to policymakers; (2) invest time to develop and maintain relationships with policymakers; (3) utilise ‘windows of opportunity’; and (4) adapt presentation and communication styles to the audience. We consider that employing these recommendations will help to improve how evidence is communicated between academia and government and therefore the influence of evidence in decision-making processes.

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Journal Article
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Palgrave Communications
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10 Oct 2019 12:50
Last Modified:
19 Sep 2023 02:17