Roundtable: National Academies: Using Science As Evidence in Public Policy
(Science & Technology)

Friday, November 9, 2012: 1:00 PM-2:30 PM
Hopkins (Sheraton Baltimore City Center Hotel)

*Names in bold indicate Presenter

Organizers:  Miron Straf, National Academy of Sciences
Speakers:  Ken Prewitt, Columbia University, Vivian Tseng, William T. Grant Foundation, Ron Haskins, Brookings Institute and Douglas Besharov, University of Maryland, College Park
Moderators:  Miron Straf, National Academy of Sciences

The report encourages scientists to think differently about the use of scientific evidence in policy making. It begins with a discussion of why scientific evidence is important to policy making. It then examines the phenomenon of “use” and argues that an extensive body of research on knowledge utilization has not led to any widely accepted explanation of the use of science as evidence in public policy. It identifies the gaps in our understanding and develops a framework for a new field of research to fill those gaps. For social scientists in a number of specialized fields, whether established scholars or Ph.D. students, the report shows how to bring their expertise to bear on the study of using science to inform public policy. For scientists who want to see their relevant research used in policy making, the report is a guide for what is required beyond producing quality research, beyond translating results into more understandable terms, and beyond brokering the results through intermediaries, such as think tanks, policy analysis agencies, lobbyists, and advocacy groups. For administrators and faculty responsible for curricula in schools and programs in public policy, the report identifies critical elements in the instruction of students so that graduates can promote the use of science in policy making.

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