Myth-busting III/IV

The Myth: Because it is needs-oriented, the model where policy-makers ask and researchers answer is a good way of channelling research knowledge into policy-making.   

The Reality: The model where policy-makers present a need for information and the researchers provide answers as it is realised in commissioned research projects and hearings of researchers can be a useful arrangement for supporting policy-making with research knowledge. The question-answer model requires that the policy-makers are able to form their needs into clear questions that can be answered with research knowledge without excessive resource expenditure.  However, this myth is still worth busting, because: 

  • Forming clear questions depends on the researchers and policy-makers’ ability to communicate smoothly and limit the questions so that significant perspectives are not left out. If the questions are not properly worded, the offered research knowledge is unlikely to offer useful content for policy-making. 
  • Co-production practices could be adopted as the foundation for describing the needs. This means coming together to think about the knowledge needs of policy-making and specifying and limiting the questions so that the needs can be met with existing or novel research knowledge. 
  • Instead of commenting or producing new research knowledge, the interaction can also be structured so that policy-makers and researchers sit down together to discuss the ongoing policy-making process, such as the law, strategy or programme being drafted. This means dialogue between experts where shared understanding on the topic at hand can be formed.