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Toward a Research Agenda for Understanding and Improving the Use of Research Evidence

Abstract

"This study sought ... to identify when, how, and under what conditions research evidence is used by policymak- ers and practitioners; what other sources of information these individuals rely on; and what factors serve as barriers or facilitators to using research evidence in making policy and practice decisions. In shedding light on those topics, we hoped to uncover promising areas for future investigation by researchers.

Among our findings, one of particular importance to researchers stood out: In our study policymakers and practitioners did not mention research evidence as often, nor discuss it as strongly, as other sources of informa- tion. Study participants expressed skepticism about research evidence (empirical findings derived from systematic methods and analyses) and noted its limitations. While almost all participants stated that research evidence plays a part in policy and practice decisions, they rarely identi- fied it as a primary factor. Rather, most study participants responded that research evidence played a more indirect or secondary role. Other findings are described later in this summary."

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