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Improving the use of evidence in legislatures: the case of the UK Parliament

Rose, D. C., Kenny, C., Hobbs, A. and Tyler, C. (2020) Improving the use of evidence in legislatures: the case of the UK Parliament. Evidence & Policy. ISSN 1744-2656

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To link to this item DOI: 10.1332/174426420X15828100394351

Abstract/Summary

Despite claims that we now live in a post-truth society, it remains commonplace for policy-makers to consult research evidence to increase the robustness of decision-making. Few scholars of evidence-policy interfaces, however, have used legislatures as sites of study, despite the fact that they play a critical role in modern democracies. There is thus limited knowledge of how research evidence is sourced and used in legislatures, which presents challenges for academics and science advisory groups, as well as to others interested in ensuring that democratic decisions are evidence-informed. Here, we present results from an empirical study into the use of research in the UK Parliament, obtained through the use of a mixed methodology, including interviews and surveys of 157 people in parliament, as well as an ethnographic investigation of four committees. Here we are specifically interested in identifying the factors affecting the use of research evidence in Parliament, with the aim of improving its use. We focus on providing advice for the Higher Education Sector, which includes improving knowledge of, and engagement in, parliamentary processes, reform of academic incentives to stimulate the production of policy relevant information and to assist engagement, and working with trusted knowledge brokers. Implementing this advice should improve the chances that parliamentary decision-making is informed by research evidence.

Item Type:Article
Refereed:Yes
Divisions:Faculty of Life Sciences > School of Agriculture, Policy and Development > Economic and Social Sciences Division > Food Economics and Marketing (FEM)
ID Code:88497
Publisher:Bristol University Press

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