CREATING AND USING EVIDENCE
This week on Power to Persuade, we are focusing on 'Impact'—how can academic research make a contribution to society? How can it influence the development of policy, practice or service provision? In today's post, Paul Cairney and Richard Kwiatkowski explore the importance of using insights from psychological science to effectively communicate research to policymakers. A modified version of this post originally appeared on Paul's blog.
'Impact' is a fickle concept. We talk about it a lot, but what does it really mean? What form does it take in practice? And what can we do, as researchers and policymakers, to support its emergence? Impact is our theme this week on Power to Persuade. To kick us off, today's post by University of Stirling Senior Lecturer Dr Peter Matthews (@urbaneprofessor) reports on new research from the United Kingdom that explores how academics perceive barriers to achieving impact. This post originally appeared on Peter's blog and has been edited for length.
In the UK in particular, but also in Australia, debate about mental health and mental illness are increasingly appearing on political agendas and appearing in the mainstream media. Whilst there is a concerted effort to reduce the stigma attached to mental illness, mental health and illness remain largely located in health focused policy debates. In the post below, Dr Sarah-Jane Fenton looks at why mental health is a topic pertinent to all contemporary public policy, and uses highlights from recent blog posts to show how embedding understanding of mental health issues should be central to all policy maker’s agendas.
NHS statistics released this week documented that eating disorders in men have increased by 70% in the UK, finding that these illnesses are rising at the same rate in young men as they are in young women. The media has been inundated with headlines discussing this rise in male eating disorders pointing towards causes such as social media and rise of body image pressures on men and boys within modern society as a way to understand this phenomenon. While there is no doubt that such issues may have an influence on such a sharp rise in men experiencing such illnesses, male eating disorders are not a new phenomenon, simply one that has been “underdiagnosed, undertreated, and misunderstood” (Strother, Lemberg & Tuberville, 2012). A study in 2007 estimated that up to 25% of individuals with eating disorders were male, with underdiagnoses being debated due to the low number of men within services.
Research into the reasons why people develop these illnesses have developed steadily in recent years with evidence suggesting that the similarities outweigh the differences between genders with regards to the core features and psychology of eating disorders. With treatment outcomes reported as equally successful for men as for women, Dr Una Foye asks the question remains why this “sudden” increase?
In The Politics of Evidence: From Evidence-Based Policy to the Good Governance of Evidence, Justin Parkhurst provides a detailed synthesis of the debates surrounding evidence-based policy (EBP) as well as a governance framework for managing EBP. This is a comprehensive overview of the advantages and limitations of this approach that offers constructive insight into ensuring the judicious and careful use of evidence, writes Andrew Karvonen.
As the first of its kind internationally, the Centre of Research Excellence in Disability and Health (CRE-DH) is Australia's new national research centre to improve the health of people with disabilities. The CRE-DH, in collaboration with key stakeholders, will gather the evidence needed to guide social and health policy reform. How will the organisation work? CRE-DH's Celia Green and Zoe Aitken explain.
Today's post from Phillip Clarke from the University of Melbourne examines the need for better use of existing data sources to inform and target health prevention strategies. This post originally appeared in The Conversation
The controversies of the 2016 census now seem in the distant past but the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) is busy collating the numbers from last year’s eventful census and are preparing for the release of data over the coming months. Stephen Gow, from specialist health system advisory service Open Advisory Pty Ltd, considers how the census powers our understanding of the notion of “place”.
Higher Education Institutions (HEIs) in the UK are showing a keener interest in gender equality and diversity at work than ever before. There is systematic interest in the progress we make, processes in place to measure our performance, manage our ambitions and focus our goals. There is also interest in spotting and managing talent. Right? If so, why is it then that more men advance into and currently occupy leadership positions than women? In this piece Rachel Dickinson discusses her early findings from a study looking at women in leadership roles in Senior Management Teams (SMT) in Higher Education.
Different strategies for using data are needed, depending on the institution, policy or individuals in question. In this post, Josh Powell, Chief Strategy Officer at the Development Gateway weighs in on the 'data and development' debate.