Relevant to: Research, Policy
Summary: This paper explores knowledge utilisation in decision making; the central arguments being that research is rarely used directly in decision making and that decisions themselves often take shape gradually, without systematic consideration.
In this key paper, Weiss explores knowledge utilisation in decision making. She argues that research is rarely used directly in decision making (ideas creep into policy deliberations) and that decisions themselves often take shape gradually, without systematic consideration (decisions and policies accrete). The paper is based on interviews with 155 people who held high-level positions in federal, state and local mental health agencies. This paper focuses on interviewee responses to two of the interview questions. The researchers noted that decision makers use research in a wide variety of ways and contexts. Although most interviewees found it hard to cite direct application of research results to specific decisions, many decision makers discussed general uses of research as an aid in formulating policy. A range of reasons are presented as to why this is the case, including that, despite holding high level government positions, many of the respondents did not believe that they make decisions. This paper provides a useful insight into the relationship between research, decision-making and those formulating policy. It is likely to be of interest to researchers and policy-makers alike.
This annotated bibliography is developed from the paper:
Weiss, C.H. (1980) Knowledge creep ad decision accretion. Science Communication 1(3): 381-404