Characteristics and Pathways to Policy Influence
Among the many assets the discipline of psychology brings to the policy arena, perhaps the most distinctive is research and scholarship. The vast magnitude and variety of published research studies provide a potentially rich repository of knowledge with which to influence policymakers. Unfortunately, a major challenge to the use of most psychology research and scholarship is their limited policy-relevance. These challenges notwithstanding, psychology research actually can (and sometimes does) influence policy. This chapter depicts a wide array of types of research that interviewees report as their greatest policy successes, shedding light on the diverse pathways through which policy influence occurs: program evaluation research, research to enhance understanding of phenomena of interest, research on system policies and practices, and research to generate practical aids for implementing agencies. Fourteen brief case examples are presented.
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