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Pathways to policy impact: a new approach for planning and evidencing research impact

Lookup NU author(s): Professor Mark Reed, Dr Ruth MachenORCiD



This is the authors' accepted manuscript of an article that has been published in its final definitive form by Policy Press, 2018.

For re-use rights please refer to the publisher's terms and conditions.


Background: The use of research in policy settings is complex, unpredictable and influenced by a range of poorly understood social factors. This makes it difficult to plan for, facilitate and evaluate policy impacts arising from research. Aims and objectives: Propose and test tools for planning for and facilitating research impact, based on a new logic model combined with a novel approach to public/stakeholder analysisPropose and test methods for establishing causal links between research and policy impacts Use case study findings to provide new empirical insights into the social processes that mediate the generation of impact from researchMethods:Social Network Analysis, qualitative analysis of semi-structured interviews and analysis of secondary data were used in acase study of peatland climate change research in Scottish Government policy.Findings: Boundary organizations and centrally positioned, well-trusted individuals, were crucial to the development of a trusted body of research in which policy-makers were sufficiently confident as the basis for policy. Discussion and conclusions: The non-linear social dynamics that characterize science-policy networks can be understood and evaluated. By using the tools described in this paper, researchers and other stakeholders can better plan, facilitate and evaluate research impact.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Reed MS, Bryce R, Machen R

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Evidence & Policy: A Journal of Research, Debate and Practice

Year: 2018

Volume: 14

Issue: 3

Pages: 431-458

Print publication date: 01/08/2018

Online publication date: 29/08/2018

Acceptance date: 14/06/2018

Date deposited: 29/06/2018

ISSN (print): 1744-2648

ISSN (electronic): 1744-2656

Publisher: Policy Press


DOI: 10.1332/174426418X15326967547242


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Funder referenceFunder name
EU Framework 7