TitleEvaluating Efforts to Communicate Research to Policymakers
Publication TypeBook Chapter
Year of Publication2021
AuthorsBogenschneider, K, Corbett, TJ, Bogenschneider, K, Normandin, H, Onaga, E, Bowman, S, Wadsworth, SMacDermid, Settersten, RA
Book TitleEvidence-Based Policymaking
Pagination195 - 231

This chapter starts by accepting the fact that research is prized by many in the policy process, despite current levels of scholarly pessimism. The research community needs infrastructures that will foster relationships between researchers and policymakers and lead to more widespread use of research evidence. Finally, we do not have incontrovertible evidence regarding which methods and approaches are effective for communicating research to policymakers. Still, experienced knowledge brokers remain enthusiastic about their efforts to bring research to the policy world. Three examples are overviewed to provide context: the congressional Office of Technology Assessment, an exemplar illustration from the Wisconsin Family Impact Seminars, and the State of Oregon’s first Family Impact Seminar. Evaluating the communication of research to policymakers brings contextual complexities regarding the appropriate stakeholders, outcomes, methods, and time frames. This chapter lays out a theory of change that proposes seven key elements that are fundamental to increasing policymakers’ research use and posits how a policy education effort like the Seminars might influence this process. The theory of change details which indicators need to be assessed to systematically document this process and provides protocols for assessing each indicator. Preliminary evaluation evidence is provided using the experience of the Family Impact Seminars that have communicated research to policymakers in several states across a couple decades.