Why is translating research into policy so hard? How theory can help public health researchers achieve impact?
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Gentry, S., Milden, L., & Kelly, M. (2020). Why is translating research into policy so hard? How theory can help public health researchers achieve impact?. Public health, 178 90-96. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.puhe.2019.09.009
Abstract Objective: To describe how overly simple conceptualisations of how research is translated into public health policy impact impair effective translation. To suggest how alternative approaches to conceptualising impact, which incorporate recent developments in social and political sciences, can help stakeholders improve translation of high-quality public health research into policy impact. Study design: Researchers often describe generating impact in terms of linear or cyclical models, in which the production of scientific findings alone compels action and leads to impact. However, such conceptualisations do not appear to have supported improved translation of research into policy and practice. Improving understanding of how research impact is achieved may identify areas stakeholders seeking to achieve impact could target. Methods: Overview of theoretical and practical approaches to achieving public health policy impact from research. Results: Despite much evidence that translating research into public health policy is more complex than linear and cyclical models suggest, stakeholders often revert to these heuristics, that is shorthand ways of thinking that allow simple but inaccurate answers to complex problems. This leads to potentially missing opportunities for impact, such as conducting research in collaboration with local policy makers and contributing ideas to the wider narrative through the media and public engagement. Conclusion: The process of translating research into impact appears more complex than that suggested by linear and cyclical models. Success involves a planned approach targeting multiple routes to impact, sustained over time.
Humans, Public Health, Health Policy, Translational Medical Research
External DOI: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.puhe.2019.09.009
This record's URL: https://www.repository.cam.ac.uk/handle/1810/296891
Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International
Licence URL: https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/4.0/