Relevant to: Research, Policy
Sector: evaluation-based research and policy
Summary: This paper explores key issues and challenges facing those researching and evaluating public policy today and cautions about potential consequences.
In this paper Warren and Garthwaite explore key issues and challenges facing those researching and evaluating public policy today. The paper was inspired by a related paper which raised the same issues in 1967 (Becker 1967), by asking the question, whose side are we on. The authors find that many of the issues Becker discussed remain relevant today but that the context within which academics operate has changed significantly, with research becoming increasingly commoditised, research funding decreasing and publication and performance pressures increasing. They argue that the question of who academics serve and write for today is increasingly important. There is a danger that those commissioning research and evaluation will place increasing demands upon researchers but that such demands will erode the very ‘commodity’ value of academic integrity that they are seeking. Credibility may become subordinated to economic necessity. The authors caution that academics working in social and public policy research and evaluation need to uphold and maintain academic freedom if the integrity and credibility of academic research is to be maintained. This paper is an important cautionary note to researchers, managers and funders contemplating different pathways for knowledge production and use.
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This annotated bibliography was developed from the following paper:
Warren, J. and Garthwaite K (2015) Whose side are we on and for whom do we write? Notes on issues and challenges facing those researching and evaluating public policy. Evidence and Policy. Vol 11(2): 225-237.
Becker HS (1967) Whose side are we on? Social Problems 14(3): 239-247.