Can Research Influence Policy?

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By Marianne Gadeberg and Michael Victor

Presented at the Mekong Forum on Water, Food and Energy
Phnom Penh, Cambodia
December 7-9, 2011
Session 8a: Presenting the Work of the M-POWER Fellows

Published in: Technology, News & Politics
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  • Does anyone NOT buckle up when they drive? Probably not. We all know that it’s the right thing, the sensible thing to do. Right.
  • Have a number of books and examples I can provide to people later on in network analysis
  • Can Research Influence Policy?

    1. 1. CAN RESEARCH INFLUENCE POLICY
    2. 2. CONTENTS The purpose of this session is to get us to step outside our normative and rational thinking to look at how we can spread our ideas to influence people and processes. How are policies made? What is the role of research in policy making? What are some tools that can be used
    3. 3. If everyone is thinking alike, then no one is thinking. (LaoFAB)
    4. 4. IS POLICY MAKING PROCESSES LINEAR? Ignorant Target groups... Scientists... ... will gladly ...possess all change their expert knowledge attitudes and and scientific behaviour wisdom accordingly
    5. 5. OR ITERATIVE, INTERACTIVE AND BASED ONTRUST, RESPECT AND INFLUENCE Where policy is made – on the golf course
    6. 6. HOW IS POLICY MADE? Reactive decision-making Dominated by political expediency Based on interpretations and understanding (rather than evidence) Participatory development process Impacted by personal interactions
    7. 7. 1885Edward J. Claghorn ofNew York, New York grantedU.S. Patent 312,085, for anautomobile safety belt.1959 US Congress passeslegislation requiring allautomobiles to comply withsafety standards includingseat belts.1970 State of Victoria,Australia, passes first lawworldwide making seat beltwearing compulsory fordrivers and front-seatpassengers.
    8. 8. EVIDENCE BASED POLICIES!
    9. 9. IS THE PROBLEM INFORMATION GAP OR HOWINFORMATION IS USED? Information = power Cooperation built on trust Trust comes from understanding Understanding = access to information and interpretation
    10. 10. INTERESTING CONCLUSIONS FROM A POLICYCOMMUNICATION IN HEALTH SURVEY Evidence plays a relatively modest role in policy making, which is dominated by political expediency. Policy makers tend to use stories rather than ‘hard’ evidence as they are easy to understand and effective. Decision makers tend to focus on communication as a way of getting a message across rather than as a participatory development process. Personal interaction remains the most effective means of communicating with policy makers. Communication strategies should build on existing networks and communities of interest.http://www.healthlink.org.uk/we-do/comms_icd.html
    11. 11. STRATEGIC COMMUNICATION Strategic communication is communication in a planned, strategic way in order to bring about positive social change. It is just not public information or PR Not noise or buzz Multiple channels Iterative Takes time
    12. 12. TOOLS FOR COMMUNICATING RESEARCH
    13. 13. SOCIAL NETWORK ANALYSIS Social Network Analysis (SNA) is a diagnostic method for collecting and analyzing data about the patterns of relationships among people in groups. It helps to:  Understand the flow of knowledge, information and Innovation  Understand where there are potential nodes of influence and dissemination area  Target opportunities where increased knowledge flow will have the most impact Helps us find (strategic!) ways to get our ideas accepted or used by influence makers
    14. 14. USE OF INTERMEDIARIES• Engage with secretaries, staff of policy-makers, those who write speeches• Not just your facts and figures, not just your story but who communicates it: Look for influential people to communicate your findings• Develop and sustain networks - don’t rely on one person
    15. 15. USING YOUR OWN NETWORK INFLUENCE We all have our own networks:  Friends who work for government  Wives, family members of those you are trying to influence are good ways to spread ideas
    16. 16. PUBLICATIONS Research papers Policy briefs Books
    17. 17. USE OF MEDIA Media can grab attention of Politicians – concerned about reputation Legitimizes research Can act as a reference and provide balance information Relations with media need to be carefully managed and developed – building trust
    18. 18. FACEBOOK, TWITTER, YOUTUBE, FLICKR
    19. 19. FIELD TRIPS
    20. 20. EXERCISETarget Changes Tools to use soughtCommittee Understanding • Face-to-face communicationmembers of an multiple uses of • Short presentations/meetingsRBO water (iterative) • Field trip to talk with local stakeholders • Evidence-based briefsDirector of Multiple use • Use of intermediariesWater requirements • MediaResources at included in • Policy briefs (throughthe Ministry of hydropower intermediaries)Environment concession • Present findings at national- agreements level workshops • Provide information to your mentor • Journal articles

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