1 Read – Chapters, Journal Articles, and Research Blogs: Find top research articles to cite and enrich your reading with your ready-made bibliography of qualitative research from SAGE books, journals, and other credible sources. Use the discussion questions online to practice thinking critically about research.

19.1 The policy-making audience

For a newspaper article that comments upon this sad truth, go to:

The Guardian – Labour is bound to bypass the lessons of the 58ers

Q. Do you agree with the argument made in this article that social research does not usually translate into public policy? Can you think of any examples to support or contradict this argument?

19.2 RCTs

In this paper, Harry Torrance points out that, for some policymakers, the randomised controlled trial (RCT) is the gold standard of worthwhile research. He shows the limitations of RCTs and discusses how we can address quality issues directly with the policy audience.

Torrance, H. (2008). Building Confidence in Qualitative Research: Engaging the Demands of Policy. Qualitative Inquiry14(4), 507–527.

Q. How can you acknowledge the limitations of your own research project while making clear its contribution to knowledge?

19.3 Practice-based research

Nick Fox discusses how practice-based research may be made relevant to managers concerned with policy and service delivery:

Fox, N. J. (2003). Practice-based Evidence: Towards Collaborative and Transgressive Research. Sociology37(1), 81–102.

Q. How relevant is practice-based research to your project?

Q. How can you make your research project relevant to practitioners in your field of study?

19.4 Workshops for policymakers

In this paper, Sue Oreszczyn and Susan Carr describe a ‘scenario workshop’ aimed at encouraging dialogue between researchers and senior policymakers. Workshops for policymakers or professionals need not always be organized around presentations of your research findings. Alternative points of discussion are often more fruitful (e.g., presentations of ‘interesting’ raw data or inviting people present to begin by suggesting what they would like to get out of your research – this can also be done prior to the meeting when you send out invitations).

Oreszczyn, S., & Carr, S. (2008). Improving the link between policy research and practice: using a scenario workshop as a qualitative research tool in the case of genetically modified crops. Qualitative Research, 8(4), 473–497.

Q. What are the benefits and challenges of scenario workshops, as outlined in this article?

Q. How could you use dialogue to disseminate your research findings?