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Table 1 New insights from policy studies raise new advice and dilemmas

From: Evidence-based policymaking is not like evidence-based medicine, so how far should you go to bridge the divide between evidence and policy?

  New insight from policy studies New advice based on such insights New dilemmas arising from such advice
How to maximise the use of evidence in policy Too many studies focus on supplying scientific evidence to reduce uncertainty; focus instead on increasing demand for evidence by reducing ambiguity Successful actors reduce ambiguity by, for example, framing issues in manipulative ways, using emotional language How far should scientists go to persuade policymakers to act on their evidence?
Should they be manipulative? This strategy may be effective, but it presents moral dilemmas and challenges a politically effective image of science as objective
We identify several current responses to this dilemma
How best to understand and act effectively within the policy process Too many studies assume that there is a policymaking ‘centre’, making policy via linear stages in a cycle; focus instead on a complex multi-level system or environment Successful actors take the time to identify which responsibilities are delegated, ‘where the action is’ and the ‘rules of the game’ in each policymaking venue How far should you go to defend a hierarchy of evidence to deliver policy solutions?
Should scientists object to ‘localism’ if it undermines policies based on RCTs? Or, should they embrace the ‘co-production’ of policy with actors who reject their ‘hierarchy’ of evidential methods?
We identify three main responses to this dilemma