Communicating With Policymakers: Insights From Policy-Minded Researchers
Despite their initial insecurities and misgivings, the rewards of making the world a better place, seeing research applied in the real world, and being respected for their expertise outside the academy proved irresistible to many researchers. With these rewards as the light at the end of the policy tunnel, we now turn to the heart of the book-an attempt to put flesh on the bones of our community dissonance theory. Although we are far from the first to try navigating the murky territory between the worlds of knowledge producers and knowledge consumers (Smith, 1991), what we bring to this discussion are the insights of those who have been successful in bridging the wide gulf between research and policy. We asked our exemplary policy communicators what advice they would have for those who might follow in their footsteps. Their advice is summarized in the 10
recommendations that follow, which we present along with corroborating evidence (where it exists) from the published literature on disseminating research to policymakers. Our researcher informants recommended the knowledge that is needed, approaches that work, skills required, and the attitudes it takes to bring research to bear on policymaking.