Friday, October 19, 2018

BPC Obtains Documents Revealing Labor Dept Cut Funds for Program Evaluation

The Bipartisan Policy Center obtained documents through the Freedom of Information Act that reveal the Department of Labor sharply cut funding for evaluating whether its programs are operating effectively. The documents show the Labor Department quietly slashed the amount of funding it transfers to its chief evaluation officer for this fiscal year’s program evaluation to $2 million. That compares with $13 million and $27 million for use in prior fiscal years 2018 and 2017, respectively.


Challenges Faced by Research Associations in Moving Research into the Policymaking Community

By Orelaru Yetunde Mary, University of Bradford

Steve Rathgeb Smith, American Political Science Association, presented Rethinking the Research Policy Nexus. Rathgeb emphasized the need to move from mere publications to public action, a scenario whereby research-based evidences partners with the community and policy makers. This will ensure that scholarly findings are translated into and used in a way that will benefit stakeholders and members of the community.

Active involvement of scholars, stakeholders, and community members in studying and addressing social and economic problems will help researchers in translating findings and achieving desired objectives. For instance, to promote public health, Rathgeb asserted that health practitioners, public health researchers, community members, and policy makers should be actively involved because they all have a role to play in achieving this. Thus, researchers should focus more on a community-based approach.

Rathgeb also stated that there is a need to redesign websites—it should serve as a portal to connect researchers, policymakers, and citizens. Featuring political scientists who are experts in the field, posting policy briefs, and connecting with blogs and other social media should be the site focus. He said professionals should help young scholars in getting information that will be presentable to and acceptable by policy makers, since they have vast experience in the field.

Jody Fitzpatrick, American Evaluation Association, said other important issues that needs addressed are:

  • How researchers communicate with others in a non-technical term yet, keeping the standard of the content.
  • Researchers have to be impartial actors in the space of policy making.
  • Data driven decision making implies that researchers should improve on the collection of data, such that it will have a significant impact on stakeholders decision making.

Other questions raised were: how much time do we prioritize in tackling the problems faced by researchers? What method do we raise fund to finance research projects? After deliberating on these questions, participants concluded that:

  • We should care more about the quality on research and not the quantity.
  • Spend more time discussing problems faced by researchers, and design a framework to tackling he problems.
  • Be more strategic in sourcing for fund to finance research project.
  • Actively engaging policy makers, community members, journalist, and practitioners will promote healthy research- public policy relationship.

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