By examining the role of evidence in social policymaking and the extent of its influence, Evidence and Evaluation in Social Policy delves deeply into one of the central questions of the field for the last 20 years. While evidence–based practice has become standard in many fields, such as health policy, in the realm of social policy, it is still gaining traction. This collection chronicles the trend toward implementing evidence–based policy over the last decade.
The chapters cover a range of topics and showcase examples from around the world. The coverage includes the role of randomized controlled trials in shaping public policy; the pitfalls of evidence–based policy as a prescriptive ideal; the challenges of measuring public support for policy interventions; and the benefits of engaging local government decision–makers with evaluation research. The contributors assess the ways in which scarce resources can be best used for the best care. They describe methodological innovations, the ways in which researchers and politicians are working together effectively, and suggestions for future improvement. In a time of austerity measures and severe cutbacks to many social programs around the world, this is a forward–thinking examination of ways to develop the best social policy using the research and evidence available.
List of Contributors vii
Introduction: Evidence and Evaluation in Social Policy 1Ian Greener and Bent Greve
1 Trials and Tribulations: The Use (and Misuse ) of Evidence inPublic Policy 5Christopher Deeming
2 Understanding the Influence of Evidence in Public Health Policy: What Can We Learn from the Tobacco Wars ? 29K. E. Smith
3 Caught in the Same Frame? The Language of Evidence–based Policy in Debates about the Australian Government Intervention into Northern Territory Aboriginal Communities 47Emma Partridge
4 A Systematic Review of Comparative Studies of Attitudes to Social Policy 63Trude Sundberg and Peter Taylor–Gooby
5 Public Opinion and Policy–making 81Ray Pawson and Geoff Wong
6 Obstacles to Evidence–based Policy–making in the EU Enlargement Countries: The Case of Skills Policies 97Will Bartlett
7 Understanding Employment Barriers for Lone Parents in Great Britain: Research Gaps and Missed Opportunities 115Tina Haux
8 Putting the Research Boot on the Policymakers Foot: Can Participatory Approaches Change the Relationship between Policymakers and Evaluation? 129Liz Richardson
Bent Greve is Professor in Social Science with an emphasis on Welfare State Analysis at Roskilde University, Denmark. He is Regional and Special Issues Editor of Social Policy & Administration and has published extensively on social and labor market policy, social security, tax expenditures, public sector expenditures, and financing of the welfare state. He is the author of Happiness (2011) and the editor of The Routledge Handbook of the Welfare State (2013) and Happiness and Social Policy in Europe (2010).
Ian Greener is Professor in the School of Applied Social Sciences at Durham University, UK, as well as being Director of the ESRC North–East Doctoral Training Centre there. His research interests include the use of evidence in policy, healthcare reorganization, and the means by which policymaking can become more evidence–driven. He is the author of three books on research methods, public management, and healthcare, including Designing Social Research: A Guide for the Bewildered (2011). He is also the author of over 50 peer–reviewed journal articles, mostly concerned with health policy.