How to encourage the use of research evidence in policy making: views of Department of Health and Social Care Liaison Officers and policy makers
Research Team: Jan Lecouturier, Falko Sniehotta, Mike Kelly
The uptake of research evidence by policy makers continues to be an important topic of discussion and exploration. The reasons research evidence is not utilized by policy makers are manifold. Our research with international behavioural science research units (BSU) who provide behavioural science evidence and advice to policy makers revealed a number of challenges, from policy maker support for a behavioural science approach to their acceptance and implementation of research findings. None of the BSUs had the current NIHR Policy Research Unit (PRU) model of Liaison Officers who work across the organizational boundaries of the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) and universities. We considered this a unique opportunity to explore the key elements of studies that do/do not inform policy with Liaison Officers (LO) and policy stakeholders, and, in their experience, why some research findings are not considered.
In this project we will interview PRU DHSC LO and policy stakeholders to learn about the LO role, gain an understanding of evidence use in the Department and how to work with potential evidence users to ensure that the research evidence is used and has impact. The aim of this study is to determine how to encourage the use of research evidence in policy making.
Qualitative study using in-depth interviews via the Teams platform. Data will be analysed thematically.
The findings will be of interest to a wider policy audience. This is an opportunity to learn about the role of Liaison Officers, and what other evidence users consider when determining which research findings to draw upon to inform policy.
The outputs of this project will inform researchers, working within and outside of a PRU, and policy makers. For researchers these include guidance on the key elements of research studies that are successful in informing policy, and a greater understanding of the factors that impact upon the use of research evidence in policy making. For policy makers, the outputs will provide insight into the decision processes of a range of policy stakeholders and potential solutions to encourage the use of research evidence in policy making. The findings will add to the current published literature on producing research evidence that is useful to policy makers