Skip to main content

Knowledge for policy, knowledge of Policy

Thursday 30th May 2013, 10.00-16.00, R0.14 (Ramphal Building)

The notion of ‘evidence-based policy’ is a key rhetorical weapon, in arguments over the legitimacy or otherwise of government interventions. But what does ‘evidence-based policy’ mean in practice? What demands does policy place upon academic research? How, historically, have the social sciences co-evolved with modern government, and what then is different about more recent appeals to ‘evidence’? How do think tanks reconfigure how knowledge is used in the public sphere? And what professional or ethical questions does the ideal of evidence-based policy pose to social scientists?

These questions will be discussed with three scholars, who have witnessed and/or researched the interface of policy-making and social scientific research, via economics, sociology and cultural policy studies: Dr Max Nathan, LSE, Dr. Dave O’Brien, City, and Dr. Will Davies, Warwick. We will also be joined by Jamie Cowling, Private Secretary to the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, Department of Communities & Local Government, to give a senior policy advisor's view.

Suggested reading:

Lindblom, C. (1959). The science of ‘muddling through’. Public Administration, 19, 79–88

Parsons, W. (2002). From Muddling Through to Muddling Up: Evidence Based Policy Making and the Modernisation of British Government. Public Policy and Administration, 17: 3, 43-60

Sanderson, I. (2002) Making Sense of What Works: Evidence-Based Policy Making as Instrumental Rationality? Public Policy and Administration, Vol.17, No.3, 61-75

Stevens, A. (2010). Telling Policy Stories: An Ethnographic Study of the Use of Evidence in Policy-making in the UK. Journal of Social Policy, 40(02), 237–255.

Wyatt, A. (2002). Evidence Based Policy Making: The View From A Centre. Public Policy and Administration, 17(3), 12–28.