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How Research Influences Policy Making

The Influence of Research in Policy Making

In this article, we shall elucidate the roles research plays in policymaking. In today’s world, the interaction between science and politics has been continuously strengthened, and the status and role of scientific consultation in policymaking have become increasingly prominent. The decision-making process increasingly requires the support of scientific and technological knowledge, and decision-makers have also put forward new and higher requirements for scientific consultation.

A correct understanding of the interaction between professional knowledge and politics has become the key to understanding scientific decision-making. The efforts of many scholars have shown that it is difficult to have a final answer to the ultimate question of how to face the tension between knowledge and rights.  These thought experiments revealed the fact that this is a very complex issue involving many fields such as epistemology, sociology, and political systems, and is regulated by new characteristics, new forms of knowledge, and society’s expectations for knowledge and new environmental changes. Constantly reshaping the form and characteristics of scientific consultation in policy formulation.

  • The issues

The key to the question is how reliable is knowledge when it tries to show its talents and give full play to its value in social and political practice? Scientific knowledge is no longer seen as superior, but as ambiguous, dangerous, and incomplete. Based on this change, the new question is to pay attention to the attributes of knowledge itself: what role it plays in scientific consultation, how does it prove its legitimacy, what kind of influence it has, and how it is in this consultation process.

Between science and politics, the importance of professional knowledge as a political resource is increasing day by day and obtaining and controlling relevant knowledge has become the goal of politicians. On the one hand, politicians are vying to be the spokesperson of the truth. However, this phenomenon has caused a decline in the monopoly of knowledge when claiming to master the truth. At the same time, scientific knowledge has once again exposed its uncertainty, ambiguity, and incompleteness. Those intermediate types of knowledge, those for specific problems, and those that have not been generalized seem to be particularly important. Here, the key issue is to reconcile the responsibility of experts and the reliability of knowledge. There are different solutions to this dilemma. Some are solved through cognition, while others are solved through institutions.

Between decision-makers and experts, the interaction between the two is determined by knowledge and the content and meaning of knowledge, and its content and meaning are all related to the interests and goals of participants. At present, the interdependent relationship between consultants and decision-makers, and the phenomenon of knowledge and decision produced by their fusion, are different from the linear characteristics of earlier scientific consulting mechanisms. It is essential to note, that the truth of scientific knowledge cannot be sacrificed for the sake of politics, nor can the issue of political endorsement for the resonance of science be ignored.

Furthermore, how does reliable knowledge enter the policy process? How are they allocated? And finally, consulting experts may pursue personal interests outside the constraints of democratic legalization. Experts may not only pursue professional interests but also try to directly influence political decisions. In addition, the nature and influence of knowledge vary with the nature of the political decision it involves.

In addition, there is a question of how the public represents at the junction of science and politics. Perhaps the most challenging research is to focus on the relationship between politics and science in a new way, in which the public will use technology embedded in society to participate in politics. No single model can guarantee that “better knowledge” leads to “better politics”. The diversity of solutions is precisely the embodiment of the complexity of the problem. Scientific knowledge is active in an increasingly politicized environment. Whether through a combination of citizen juries, regulatory agencies or any similar institutions, participation, accountability, reasonable negotiation, and transparency of resolutions are always important for an ideal government.

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Science and politics fundamentally follow a different logic. One should actively anticipate the emergence of various models and strive to improve the management and practice of the participation mechanism.

The democratization of professional knowledge not only relies on responsible citizens but also produces responsible citizens. Public participation seems to have become a procedure. This procedure makes responsible self-management a political technique. At the same time, it becomes the most important resource for political affairs. This development is extremely dual-faceted: the increase in autonomy is inevitably accompanied by the increase in heterogeneous governance. More and more science-based policy institutions are dealing with more and more politics under more or less strict procedural restrictions.

Although relevant studies cannot yet give a simple answer to the aforementioned questions, these explorations still provide valuable methods for solving the following problems, namely: how to institutionalize scientific advice and political needs to meet fairness, transparency, and universal participation. While aiming, it neither violates moral and scientific standards nor violates the basic functions and legality principles of political science.

To use research to influence policy, there are a few measures to take:

  • Define your strategy for influencing policy. You could be attempting to determine what policy should be, pushing policy in a specific direction, lobbying for funds and other forms of support to address a problem, or arguing for or against specific practices or ideas.
  • Determine who your audience will be – politicians, the general public, and what kind of evidence they will accept.
  • Make use of current evidence to get started and make your work easier.
  • Carry out the actual investigation, paying attention to what your target audience will accept and comprehend.
  • Analyze your findings and stick to them, even if they don’t match your expectations.

Middle ground

In contrast to scientific and other scholarly studies, advocacy research seeks to influence policymaking. Research can be an effective instrument for influencing the formulation and adjustment of policy as it relates to your topic. It can lead to improved administrations and actual social change if used effectively.  Whether the purpose of your study is to ascertain what a suitable policy should be, or draw attention to an issue or need, to advocate for the acceptance or abdication of a specific practise or approach, to expose corruption or wrongdoing in government or business, or to ensure public safety, it can have a significant impact on your community at large.

Research can assist in effectively identifying a problem and then appropriately addressing it. It can help you develop a solid advocacy foundation and keep you honest as an advocate by ensuring that you don’t fall into the trap of campaigning based on propaganda rather than responding to the genuine requirements of the events and community.

The right time to push your research results forward is when existing policies are at a crossroads.  When there’s a policy void in a given area; when the policy on your issue is under decision-making phase; when there’s a serious situation at hand and no one seems to be reacting; when policy change or formation is being discussed, and it’s critical that daunting, but critical, issues aren’t overlooked; when current policy needs to be evaluated; when policy appears to be heading in the wrong direction; or when you’re consulted as an expert on the issue.