The conclusions offer researchers and policy-makers opportunities to consider all risk eroding its influence on national policy making and institutional practice. A report of research carried out by Frontier Economics Ltd on behalf of the and organisation, relationships between policy makers and researchers seem. Health Policy Research Group in engaging policy makers to support evidence and six researchers from the universities and research institute in a Nigerian who the methods were perceived as effective in relation to influencing policy and.
Each HUD administration is able to draw on that body of research, each is able to add to it during its term, and each leaves behind it a body of completed studies and studies in process that are intended to be of use to its successor. The research is ongoing because HUD has had the same basic missions for many years, as well as many of the same programs.
Yet although the missions have seldom changed and the major programs have long histories, some programs have been terminated, and there have been modifications in all of them. Some of the modifications have occurred in response to changes in policy priorities and some to address program management or other problems identified in the course of program operations. Research contributes to the decision to undertake new programs and the design of the programs.
Experience with the programs, once they have begun operations, often raises issues of program effectiveness or cost, and identifies problems that need attention. Research is often undertaken to address these issues, to evaluate the effectiveness of the programs, answer specific questions about them, and suggest modifications. It is an iterative process.
This is particularly true of the research program, and most particularly true in recent years as the size of the research budget has been constant or shrinking.
Research is undertaken to answer questions or resolve problems; when the budget is limited, fewer questions or problems can be addressed. This reduction in research can have negative consequences for HUD policy makers and the public; use- ful information is not available when it is relevant. The cost is real, albeit indirect and easily overlooked. The research activities in any given year will not cover all of the major program areas of HUD.
But over time research has covered nearly all of them. Policy development in any given year draws on the research activities of the last several years, and even longer.
Section 8 new construction; tenant-based assistance, with a focus on cost; housing vouchers, with a focus on program outcomes; the Community Development Block Grant CDBG formula; housing mar- ket discrimination; and regulation of the government sponsored enterprises, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.
There is some overlap between the first two examples, since both programs were authorized under Section 8 inand some of the major research projects over the next several years covered both. Also, the second and third both concern the programs that provide assistance to households, tracing the development of policy along different dimensions and over somewhat different periods of time. Housing assistance has routinely constituted well over one-half of the HUD budget. It differed from previous project-based subsidy programs in that the subsidy was explicitly based on the income of the assisted household.
The commitment to an income-conditioned subsidy was derived in part from Housing in the Seventies U. Department of Housing and Urban Development,the major study of previous subsidy programs.
Furthermore, it assures that you know what you're talking about, and aren't left mumbling when an opponent or a member of the public asks you to explain your argument. To maintain your integrity, and make sure that you're doing the right thing Your research should not only influence policy makers - it should influence you, too.
Sometimes what you think you know isn't reality. If you really care about social change - change that addresses the real issues and actually improves life for a target group or a community or the world - you have to deal with what is, not with what you want to believe. Sometimes, facing reality can be as difficult for advocates as for policy makers or members of the public who know that the death penalty reduces the murder rate, or that sex education in schools encourages teens to be sexually active, even though the research points in the opposite direction.
To be true to your ideals, to maintain your integrity, you must be willing to accept what your research tells you, and act accordingly. Virtually anyone can do at least some form of advocacy research, but not everyone has the training to set up studies or comparisons that hold up statistically, or the credentials to be taken seriously by policy makers and the public.
Grassroots groups, for instance, which often include members of the group most affected by the issue being researched, are certainly more than capable of collecting information and doing investigative work. They may, in fact, be more effective than other researchers at gathering information from the target population. But, they may need to enlist partners with research expertise to make sure that their methods are appropriate, and that their findings are accepted.
Among those who might conduct research to influence policy: Academic researchers - both professors and graduate students - may already be doing the research you need, or may be able to get grants to do it. In some cases, they may be willing to donate time and expertise because they agree with you that policy needs to be developed or changed. Many universities also support research facilities aimed at specific issues, and staffed by professors and professional researchers.
If their interests match yours, you may find them willing collaborators. Think tanks and other research organizations. These are groups of independent scholars and thinkers who research and write about various topics, usually with the goal of influencing public policy. Think tanks sometimes operate as independent non-profits, sometimes as parts of other organizations and institutions. If you're using think tank research, be sure you know the reputation of the group.
Many think tanks have a political bias, and a few are not above ignoring evidence that disproves their contentions, or even skewing their research to make it conform to their ideology. While most are totally honest, it's important to understand the reliability of your sources.
Many government agencies conduct research as a matter of course. Regulatory agencies, particularly, or those that act as major funders, such as state and federal Departments of Education, often conduct research into their areas of concern, or into the workings of organizations they regulate or fund.
Presidents, governors, mayors, Congress, and other officials or official bodies often appoint commissions to study a particular problem or area. All too often, the appointing official or body knows what he or it wants the commission's conclusion to be. Although these commissions are regularly packed with respected and well-known people - who may or may not be competent researchers themselves - and given research staffs and adequate budgets, their results are often ignored.
If they confirm what was expected, the appointer merely says "I told you so," and continues to pay little attention to the issue. If, however, the commission's findings are contrary to expectations, they are often swept under the rug Only if the media manages to point out the commission's research results and capture the public's interest, do such findings become a matter of real discussion and possible policy change.
Organizations that work directly with an issue. Health and human service organizations, in particular, often use their own statistics and documentation as research to determine what works, where greatest needs are, etc. These organizations engage in constant research on the topics and organizations of their concern.
Watchdogs always have an issue at hand, so the question of bias arises here. Bias, in this case, is often unconscious, and has to do with point of view.
Media watchdogs on the left, for example, find the media biased toward the conservative end of the spectrum, while those on the right rail endlessly about the "liberal media. It is even possible for the media to be liberal on one issue and conservative on another, but it is not possible for all the media to be both too liberal and too conservative at the same time. Some watchdogs tend to see conspiracy in every action that disagrees with their ideology.
For an example of how watchdogs with different viewpoints can interpret evidence differently, see the web sites of FAIRFairness and Accuracy In Reporting, a liberal media watchdog, and the Media Research Centerits conservative counterpart. If there's a question of legality or potential or actual harm to citizens, then research or an investigation may be carried out by law enforcement officials.
The short answer here is whenever you want to have an effect on policy-making. There are some specific times, however, when research can be particularly useful.
When there is no policy, and there's a need for one. You may already be working with policy makers to develop a policy, and need research results to provide the push that will bring action in the right direction. In the early days of the AIDS outbreak, for example, activists and physicians conducted mountains of research to bring about public awareness and to stimulate policy making on research on and treatment of AIDS, both in government and in the medical community.
When there's a critical situation, but no one seems - or wants - to notice. Michael Harrington's book The Other America, a study of poverty in the United States, drew attention to a profound problem at a time when few knew - or admitted - that it existed.
When current policy or funding on the issue is up for review by legislators or other policy makers. Appropriate research can swing policy makers' opinion in your direction. In Massachusetts, literacy providers were able to secure not only a large increase in funding, but a complete reexamination of the funding process for adult education, by gathering the names of 13, people on waiting lists for adult literacy programs in all parts of the state.
When policy is under discussion, and you want to make sure that important issues don't get lost or shoved under the table. All too often, the best policy in a particular situation involves doing something difficult, or admitting facts that policy makers or the public would rather not face. If the issue at hand is to be resolved, the difficulty or admissions have to be acknowledged and addressed. Appropriate research can help to demonstrate the need for doing the right thing, even if it's unpleasant.
When policy has been established, but its effects are still unclear. Advocates in this situation might do evaluative research to determine whether the current policy is appropriate or not. When you feel current policy is headed in the wrong direction. If policy makers seem as thought they are about to make a serious mistake, your research may serve to correct the error before it causes harm. Research consistently shows, for instance, that children who attend Head Start continue to do better in school - and need fewer services over time - than those children from similar circumstances who aren't exposed to Head Start.
Thus, when, in the Reagan administration, some policy makers recommended discontinuing Head Start to save money, advocates were able to demonstrate that the program actually saves money over the long term, in addition to improving the prospects for those it serves. When you're consulted as an expert, or otherwise have a clear opportunity to influence the formulation of policy. In addition, they may ask for public comment on a bill or potential policy while they're considering it.
If you have the chance to testify in one of these situations, research is crucial. Telling the policy makers what you think is important, but telling them what you know from your research is far more convincing. The important question here is not how to do research - that's dealt with in the first seven sections of this chapter - but, rather, how to approach your research when you have a specific policy goal in mind.
That means defining your policy goals clearly, taking your audience into account, and then researching and releasing your results with those considerations in mind.
Decide how you want to influence policy There are a number of ways you may try to influence policy: Find out what policy should be. The research involved in this case might be a needs assessment to determine the issues that must be addressed, or an analysis to understand how to address a particular issue or find out exactly what's causing a problem.
You might use this approach if you know there are problems in the community, but can't define them; are clear on what the problem is, but don't know how to deal with it; are concerned about a particular population; are concerned about community health and safety; or are trying to improve the quality of life for the community in general. Find out if current policy is working. If it's not clear whether current policy is effective or not, an evaluation can answer that question, as well as suggest appropriate changes.
Push policy in a specific direction.
Looking for other ways to read this?
You might want to support efforts on a particular issue, or sponsor policy that mandates action in particular situations. Advocate for the institution of, or an increase in, funding for an issue or a community project. Support or oppose a current theory or practice. You may want to make sure that drug policy includes treatment, rather than just punishment. Or you may want stricter policy on the required safety levels of some chemicals in drinking water.
Consider whom you need to influence, and what they'll be swayed by Understanding your audience and what they will respond to should constitute part of your research, make clear the kind of research that's therefore appropriate, and show you how best to present the conclusions of that research. Being able to speak forcefully and convincingly to exactly the policy makers and others you want to influence is a key to good advocacy research.
Legislators and other elected officials. By and large, elected officials respond to four things: They usually like quantitative evidence - i. They can also be swayed by powerful first-person testimony from someone affected by an issue, especially if that person is one of their constituents. Most officials will respond to anything they have a personal connection with. If Uncle Joe is on welfare, or a friend's daughter has waged a long battle with schizophrenia, then they are apt to be interested in and sympathetic to the needs of low-income citizens or those with mental health problems.
You can often gain the ear of an official through the intercession of a family member, friend, or neighbor who is affected by the policy area you're addressing.
For that reason, it's useful to include looking for those kinds of connections in your research. For most corporations and other businesses with community-oriented small businesses being a notable exceptionone concern dwarfs all others: Corporations and other businesses exist, after all, specifically to make money, and therefore that's their primary concern. It was founded in and is dedicated to conducting public health, policy-relevant research and analysis to inform policies, providing policy advice and technical assistance in policy formulation and evaluation and conducting policy dialogues.
The HPRG has established regular and wide-ranging communication and information with policy makers in Nigeria and is involved in various capacity building programmes for local policy makers, CSOs and members of the academia.
The HPRG is involved in: Conducting policy-relevant research and analysis; Providing policy advice and technical assistance in policy formulation and evaluation; conducting policy dialogues at national and international levels, that is bringing together policy makers, civil society and researchers to draw upon evidence and debate key policy questions; training and capacity development for policy makers; Methods This paper analysed the various stages and experiences from seven selected cases where studies conducted by the HPRG were investigated with a specific focus on how the findings from these studies had influenced policy or managerial practice.
These cases were purposively selected from a number of studies conducted by the group because they all show evidence of influencing policy and practice in these States. The other studies conducted by the group were excluded because they have not shown any clear evidence of influencing policy and practice.
The cases involved a variety of projects, some mainly initiated by researchers and some by policy makers. Fifteen respondents who were purposively selected were interviewed in this study. The 15 respondents were purposively selected because the policy makers and stakeholders were either involved in the various cases or were involved in policy making or were end users of the research findings and in a position to influence policy.
The HPRG researchers and other researchers were selected because they were involved in one or more of the studies. Beyond the 15 interviews, the writing team has inside knowledge of these cases and this knowledge is being used in the paper and was tested and extended through the interviews. Data collection In-depth-interviews using an interview guide based on the objectives of the study were used to explore their experiences with reference to the selected cases.
Information was collected on stakeholder involvement in generation of research questions, research process data collection and analysisgeneration of results and dissemination of findings.Public Policy-making in Lebanon: the case of the voluntary health insurance policy
Responses were also collected on the various methods of dissemination of findings employed by the HPRG, and their opinion on which methods that might have worked best for GRIPP. Furthermore, information on factors supporting effective policy engagement and challenges to research utilization in health policy were collected.
The responses from the HPRG researchers who were part of the respondents were validated in a feedback meeting after data collection. Data analysis Thirteen of the fifteen interviews were audio recorded and notes were taken. Audio files were transcribed verbatim and subsequently edited.
Two interviews were not recorded, but detailed notes were made of the interviews. Conventional content manual analysis inductive [ 27 ] was used in data analysis.