Roundtable: Research, Dissemination, and Advocacy: The Role of the Policy Scholar
(Politics, Media, and the Policy Process)

Thursday, November 8, 2018: 8:30 AM-10:00 AM
Taft - Mezz Level (Marriott Wardman Park)

*Names in bold indicate Presenter

Moderators:  Sarah Hamersma, Center for Policy Research
Speakers:  Joseph Cordes, George Washington University, Scott Imberman, Michigan State University, Mina Kim, Bureau of Labor Statistics and Johanna Catherine Maclean, Temple University

This roundtable will engage in a conversation about the responsibilities of researchers for the public consumption of their policy-relevant research. We will focus on these three questions:

  • How, when, and to whom should academics publicize their work?
  • To what extent is a researcher responsible for their work being understood appropriately (i.e. caveats, assumptions, limitations), if at all?
  • What kinds of advocacy make sense for researchers, if any?

 Rather than a skills-based discussion of the mechanics of dissemination, this higher-level discussion will consider the appropriate time to release a study, the appropriate audiences to have in mind, and the responsibilities of the researcher to the public and to policy-makers.  The roundtable will open up and discuss questions that may have different answers for different researchers.  For example, to what extent ought a researcher to be able to anticipate the response to their work, and use that insight to avoid misunderstanding at the outset?  To what extent should we make very clear policy recommendations - potentially moving into advocacy - and is it incumbent on the researcher to avoid that role, seek that role, or tread lightly somewhere in between?  What institutional supports or training do we need to do this well?  Finally, how does the urgency or importance of the policy issue play a role in decisions about dissemination to the public, particularly prior to peer review?  The presenters come from a variety of institutional settings, positions, and fields of policy-relevant research (public finance, trade, education, and health); they will open with their thoughts, followed by discussion with the audience.