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Using evidence to improve policy and practice: the UK What Works Centres

Bristow, Daniel ORCID:, Carter, Lauren and Martin, Stephen James ORCID: 2015. Using evidence to improve policy and practice: the UK What Works Centres. Contemporary Social Science 10 (2) , pp. 126-137. 10.1080/21582041.2015.1061688

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The creation of a network of What Works Centres in the UK reflects a belief that the provision of high-quality evidence can improve public policy decisions. The literature on evidence-based policy suggests that rational, technocratic models belie the complex and contested nature of the policy process and that What Works Centres are likely to face a number of challenges as they seek to synthesise and mobilise knowledge. Wide variations are found between the What Works Centres in terms of their resources, the evidence standards they use, their audiences and approaches to transmitting evidence. Tracking their development and their impact over time should, therefore, provide valuable insights about ‘what works’ in promoting evidence-based policy and practice. In particular, it may shed further light on what counts as ‘robust’ and ‘useful’ evidence, and what are the most effective means of mobilising research-based knowledge, thereby enhancing our understanding of the contribution that social science research can make to policy and practice.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: Business (Including Economics)
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HD Industries. Land use. Labor
Uncontrolled Keywords: evidence-based policy, knowledge transfer, public services, What Works Centres
Publisher: Routledge
ISSN: 2158-2041
Date of First Compliant Deposit: 29 January 2019
Date of Acceptance: 27 May 2015
Last Modified: 07 Nov 2023 18:32

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