25 de jul. 2018

Back to basics: the 7 enemies of evidence-based policy

Evidence-based policy is focused on research-based evidence to inform policymakers about “what works” and thereby produce better policy outcomes.

Graham Leicester in his 20th century article - 1999- brings us a number of factors that he suggests inhibits the adoption of the evidence based policy

What we could do against them?
  1. Recognise that these enemies are everywhere not only in the governing machine. In the universities, research centres, ... 
  2. We live in a risk society and the whole society is a laboratory. All the things that happen are real life experiences with risky technologies, not experiments conducted in laboratory controlled conditions. That means that when they go wrong—and it is axiomatic in the scientific model that they must go wrong if progress is to be made—they do so for real. There needs to be a much closer relationship therefore between government and research evidence. 
  3. The political management of the evidence in our ‘risk society’ is even more important than the evidence itself. Researches have an obligation not only to be as rigorous as possible, but also to recognise that their research has a political dimension. What they choose to investigate, how and when they present the findings are part of the risk management process. They are all agents of change.
  4. Technological advance is giving a new opportunities to get to grips with complexity. The increase in processing capacity makes all sorts of things possible in the management of complex systems. There is now a capacity for instant information gathering and analysis which makes all policy into a continuous real-time experiment. The researcher’s role will be to monitor, evaluate and adjust continuously. 
  5. We must work harder to develop better data, and true indicators of what really matters to us as a society. We need data that answers the question ‘why’ as well as ‘how much’ or ‘how many’? We need indicators which can stand proxy for the general health of society, measures of the vital signs.
It is important for researchers not only to gather the evidence to describe what is happening and how society is changing, but to provide explanations about why these changes are occurring, and then ideally to suggest things that might be done to adjust the system accordingly.

As a Citizens we want evidence-based policy NOT "policy-based evidence": where evidence is typically used as a weapon — mangled and used selectively in order to claim that it supports a politician’s predetermined position

Acces to the article (restricted): The seven enemies (1999)

photo: Game of Thrones. Jon Snow: You know nothing and Book