chapter  5
19 Pages

Research, Evidence, and Policy

Each of the chapters in this book has drawn on a variety of evidence to support the arguments that they make. Many have also refl ected the types and varieties of evidence that are used by policy-makers in making decisions about the extent and shape of social policies and provision. Inevitably, they have refl ected that the use of evidence and research is selective, and that ideologies and values play a major role in determining policies. However, research, evaluation, and other forms of evidence remain fundamental in helping us understand the nature and extent of social problems and in assessing the extent to which policies do or do not achieve their goals. This chapter therefore:

■ considers different approaches to policy-making by governments over the past 50 years;

■ highlights some of the challenges to the pursuit of ‘evidence-based’ policy-making;

■ considers some of the critiques of the idea of ‘evidence-based’ policy.