Bridging Research and Policy Through Outcome Evaluation

Duration:

October 2007 to June 2008

PSI researchers:


Ben Shaw

Background, summary and aims

Background and Aims

The main objective of this Defra funded research project is to pilot the use of outcome evaluation as a means of better linking research and policy in the cross-cutting areas of sustainable consumption and production (SCP) and sustainable waste and resources management (SWRM) and across Defra more broadly. The project is focusing on two Defra research programmes:

·      Waste and Resources Research Programme

·      Sustainable Consumption and Production Evidence Base

The work is intended to go beyond evaluation of individual research projects and the quality of their outputs and examine how research outputs are (or aren’t) translated into policy outcomes and how the impact of research on policy can be improved.

The work is being carried out by a consortium led by Technopolis Ltd, with partners GHK Consulting, Policy Studies Institute and King’s College London (Centre for Evidence and Policy).

Project Design

There are two main elements to the project:

  1. A literature review
    The literature review - Assessing the impact of research on policy: A review of the literature for a project on bridging research and policy through outcome evaluation - was conducted by the Centre for Evidence and Policy at King’s College London and Policy Studies Institute and was submitted to Defra in February 2008. Its aim was to explore and examine methods for evaluating the impact of research on policy outcomes that might be appropriate to the research programmes under consideration. The literature review was designed to ensure that the development of the evaluation framework was informed by the best available evidence.
  2. An evaluation
    The evaluation will be completed by May 2008 and the findings reported to Defra with recommendations for an ongoing programme of monitoring and evaluation for the two research programmes.

Importance of Research

Understanding the relationship between research and policy outcomes is a vital, and often overlooked, element of policy-making. Traditionally evaluations of research projects or programmes have been process-driven focusing on delivery of individual project or programme outputs. Increasing emphasis is now being placed on the contribution of programmes to the achievement of organisational goals (i.e. desired outcomes). Outcome or impact evaluations, as opposed to output evaluation, could prove a useful vehicle for heightening engagement among policy-makers with research programmes and exploring the contribution of knowledge derived from research programmes to the achievement of organisational goals. It could also help to ensure a better alignment between policy and research teams objectives.

Related publications / project outputs

Assessing the impact of research on policy: A review of the literature for a project on bridging research and policy through outcome evaluation