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Using Evidence: What Works?

An introduction to and discussion of the findings from the research project The Science of Using Science.

An introduction to and discussion of the findings from the research project The Science of Using Science.

Key findings

Six underlying mechanisms for enabling the use of research were drawn from the literature, and these are explored in the discussion paper, with examples from government, the public sector and charities. Mechanisms which the research found to be effective in getting research used include:

  • Awareness - building awareness and positive attitudes towards evidence use.
  • Agree - building mutual understanding and agreement on policy-relevant questions and the kind of evidence needed to answer them.
  • Access and communication - providing communication of, and access to evidence.

We all have our favourite methods of knowledge exchange, but do we have rigorous evidence that these methods do actually change people’s use of research (and/or motivation, capacity or opportunity) to do so?

The Science of Using Science project was set up by the Alliance for Useful Evidence and funded by the Wellcome Trust and the What Works Centre for Wellbeing. The project aimed to uncover the evidence on what works to enable decision-makers’ research use.

This discussion document is based on a systematic review of 36 existing reviews and a second scoping review of research from the broader social science literature conducted by the EPPI-Centre at UCL. More than 150 possible interventions were identified but there were many cases with mixed or no evidence which illustrated the need for more research in this area.

If you'd like to delve deeper, you can also read the final project report from the research team at EPPI-Centre, available from the Alliance for Useful Evidence website.

Authors

Jonathan Breckon and Jane Dodson

Authors

Jonathan Breckon

Jonathan Breckon

Jonathan Breckon

Director, Alliance for Useful Evidence

Jonathan Breckon has 15 years experience in policy, research and public affairs. His expertise lies particularly in brokering relationships between decision-makers and researchers fr...

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