By John Thwaites
Considering three questions can help researchers interested in better use of evidence in government policy making:
- how is evidence used by politicians?
- why is best evidence not always followed?
- what can be done to improve the likelihood that evidence will inform policy?
How evidence is used by politicians
It is useful to start with an appreciation that politicians look to many forms of evidence other than academic research, including the grey literature, government reports, reports from Royal commissions, various other forms of expert evidence (including the politician’s favourite expert), the experience of citizens, anecdotal evidence, reports from interested parties produced by consultants, the media and Google searches.