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How to Advance Research to Policy. Timothy D. McBride Professor Washington University. Bridging Research to Policy in Diabetes Research: Dissemination Strategies. Policy in the knowledge transfer process The Culture Clash between Researchers and Policymakers What is the Problem?

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how to advance research to policy

How to Advance Research to Policy

Timothy D. McBride

Professor

Washington University

bridging research to policy in diabetes research dissemination strategies
Bridging Research to Policy in Diabetes Research: Dissemination Strategies
  • Policy in the knowledge transfer process
  • The Culture Clash between Researchers and Policymakers
    • What is the Problem?
    • Strategies for Overcoming the Problem
  • Services the HEPAC can provide
policy translation and dissemination in knowledge transfer process
Policy translation and dissemination in Knowledge transfer process

In Knowledge translation process, what are the best methods for translating and delivering evidence-based research to policy? Through guidelines (T2) to improve population health (T4)?

components of policy analysis
Components of Policy Analysis

Problem

Analysis

Solution

Analysis

Conclusions

Or

Recommendations

Information

Gathering

the policy process
The Policy Process

The

Politics

The

Problem

Policy

Alternatives

Evidence-Based Information

& Analysis

John Kingdon, 1995, “Agendas, Alternatives and Public Policies,” New York: Harper Collins.

politics and policy
Politics and Policy

"Politics is the art of looking for trouble, finding it whether it exists or not, diagnosing it incorrectly, and applying the wrong remedy." 

-- Ernest Benn

policy making two competing views
Policy making: two competing views

Source: Williams C. Director Office of Health Information, AHRQ. Presentation to 2000 Summer

Institute for Professional Health Legislative Staff Development. UNC.

  • Policy making is not always rational
    • Rational decision making: research-based and largely context free
    • Sensible decision making: pragmatically driven and dependent on institutional and political context
  • Policy makers are influenced by factors other than evidence based research
    • e.g., budget, ideology, interest groups, other policy makers
policymakers views of researchers
Policymakers Views of Researchers

Source: Williams C. Director Office of Health Information, AHRQ. Presentation to 2000 Summer

Institute for Professional Health Legislative Staff Development. UNC.

  • They take forever even to answer the simplest question(s). Then they are late with the results.
  • What is this stuff they write? Who can understand it?
  • They’re always hedging. I can’t get a straight answer.
  • They don’t answer the question I thought I asked.
  • They take little responsibility for the implications of their findings.
researchers views of policy makers
Researchers Views of Policy Makers
  • They don’t ask researchable questions.
  • They don’t accept uncertainty. They don’t accept that reducing uncertainty costs more money.
  • They don’t appreciate the influence of publish or perish on my life.
  • They want unrealistic turn-around for results.
  • They expect me to drop everything and delivery results for policy input.
  • They want “bottom line” answers to take them off the policy hook.
  • They can’t be trusted with my results—misinterpret/misuse my results.

Source: Williams C. Director Office of Health Information, AHRQ. Presentation to 2000 Summer

Institute for Professional Health Legislative Staff Development. UNC.

with this culture clash how can researchers affect policy
With this Culture Clash, How Can Researchers Affect Policy?

Researchers need to understand the policy making process

Need to design policy-relevant research and be aware of policy time constraints

Researchers need to disseminate research findings in language and mediums that policy makers will understand

Researchers can become directly involved in the policy making process or can work with advocates

Source: McBride et al. 2008. “Bridging Health Research and Policy: Effective Dissemination Strategies,” Amer J of Public Health Management Practice 14(2).

five strategies
Five Strategies

Five strategies as crucial for researchers and funders to follow:

Engage end users when framing research.

Tailor the design of products to meet the needs of the diversity of end users interested in health research.

Make research products easily accessible to end users.

Expand contact and working relationships with end users

Invest in developing greater capacity for effective dissemination.

Source: McBride et al. 2008. “Bridging Health Research and Policy: Effective Dissemination Strategies,” Amer J of Public Health Management Practice 14(2).

engage end users when framing research
Engage end users when framing research
  • Establish a “research to policy network” composed of researchers and users
  • Develop “synthesis” products that summarize in an accessible, readable format what is known on a topic to identify needed additional research.
    • Researchers and others should monitor policy developments so that previously released research findings are communicated when they are relevant to current policy debates.

Source: McBride et al. 2008. “Bridging Health Research and Policy: Effective Dissemination Strategies,” Amer J of Public Health Management Practice 14(2).

rapid response and dissemination
Rapid Response and Dissemination
  • Provide findings to different types of policy makers
  • Use the media to communicate findings
  • Work with advocates to help disseminate research findings
  • Be willing to spend time meeting the needs of the policy makers
    • Attend policy meetings, review laws, draft legislation, answer staff questions or constituents concerns
  • Rapid response—special data runs
  • Spend time on strategic planning
    • Anticipate: what will be the key issues: 6 months from now? One year ahead?
    • Ask your strategic partners all the time what are key questions?

Source: McBride et al. 2008. “Bridging Health Research and Policy: Effective Dissemination Strategies,” Amer J of Public Health Management Practice 14(2).

invest in developing greater capacity
Invest in developing greater capacity
  • Effective dissemination efforts require dedicated resources to support specialized knowledge and skills
    • The two uses, research and dissemination, must be additive
    • Some efforts could be unfamiliar to researchers; for example, writing effective press releases

Source: McBride et al. 2008. “Bridging Health Research and Policy: Effective Dissemination Strategies,” Amer J of Public Health Management Practice 14(2).

expand contact and working relationships with end users
Expand contact and working relationships with end users
  • The most effective means of disseminating research to policy users?
    • Direct, interpersonal contact
      • Users must trust that the information they receive is reliable and credible
      • Sustained and substantive communication engenders trust.
      • Policy staff turnover demands researchers renew relationships
    • Natural interchanges may occur over issues initiated by researcher or staff, advocacy group
    • Researchers earn the trust of policy makers when they
      • present accurate and evidence-based information,
      • acknowledge data or information limitations,
      • provide an objective and nonpartisan viewpoint,
      • work diligently to be a recognized expert in their field,
      • respond to staff requests in a timely fashion, and
      • provide policy-relevant information specific to staff needs.

Source: McBride et al. 2008. “Bridging Health Research and Policy: Effective Dissemination Strategies,” Amer J of Public Health Management Practice 14(2).

tailor the design of products
Tailor the design of products
  • Different products for different stakeholder groups.
  • Policy makers prefer short, user-friendly products
    • Policy briefs or summary fact sheets with key descriptive findings
    • However, journal articles remain important reinforcing the credibility of the research.
  • Use Policy briefs or other dissemination products
    • Briefs, briefings
    • Website, webinars

Source: McBride et al. 2008. “Bridging Health Research and Policy: Effective Dissemination Strategies,” Amer J of Public Health Management Practice 14(2).

structure of policy briefs
Structure of Policy Briefs
  • Communicate findings in easy to read brief reports and articles. For legislators:
    • Be concise: Communications with legislators must be short (generally not more than 1-2 pages).
    • Use lay language; no jargon or scientific terms.
    • Use graphics and human stories (if possible).
    • Explain how research will affect local constituents
    • Not the same as a “mini” journal article
  • Organization
    • Well-written titles that reflect key “takeaways”
    • Strategic visuals: simple and clear graphs/charts, presented in color
    • Avoid superfluous pictures.
    • Information on local areas (all politics is “local”)
    • Key findings and a conclusion
    • Contact information
make research products easily accessible to end users
Make research products easily accessible to end users
  • Users need research results in seconds or minutes, not hours or days.
  • Multiple communication channels are needed to reach various audiences, including policy makers, associations, advocacy groups, and media.
  • Traditional communication vehicles for research findings, including conference presentations and peer-reviewed publications, are not the primary information source for policymakers.
    • Alternatively, they prefer report that electronic and verbal communications and web sites
    • Web sites should be professionally designed, have search capabilities, connect to all other research centers, and be tested for usability and usefulness
    • Virtually all research products produced in paper form should be electronically available.

Source: McBride et al. 2008. “Bridging Health Research and Policy: Effective Dissemination Strategies,” Amer J of Public Health Management Practice 14(2).

reminder what can the health economics and policy analysis core hepac do for diabetes researchers

Reminder: What Can the Health Economics and Policy Analysis Core (HEPAC) do for Diabetes Researchers?

Timothy McBride, Director

Michael Sherraden, co-Director

Byron Yount

hepac objectives
HEPAC Objectives
  • Develop understanding of common conceptual policy and economic models and methods, and their use in in diabetes translation research;
  • Increase familiarity with cutting-edge policy analytic techniques for their application to type II translation;
  • Increase familiarity and use of available economic and policy-relevant databases for the translation of research to policy and practice;
  • Develop an understanding of the steps in the policy assessment process and its impact on type II translational research;
  • Increase familiarity with, and the application of, cost-effectiveness analysis in diabetes translation studies.
hepac services provided
HEPAC Services Provided
  • Economic and Policy Design Methods
      • Policy analysis techniques, conceptual approaches and research methods
  • Cost-Effectiveness Analysis
      • Assistance in methods for analyzing costs of diabetes interventions and reporting this analysis
  • Diabetes Policy Data Archive
      • Assistance on use of data potentially relevant to diabetes policy research (e.g., BRFSS, CPS, SIPP, MEPS)
        • Catalogues of datasets, questions, codebooks, measures, methods
  • Policy Assessment Toolkit
      • Archive of diabetes policies; toolkit for evaluating content of diabetes-related policies
      • Policy evaluation measures across multiple environments (e.g., community, worksite, school)
policy analysis compared to five other paradigms
Policy Analysis Compared to Five Other Paradigms
  • Weimer and Vining (2010) compare policy analysis to five other paradigms in Figure 1.1:
    • Journalism
    • Academic social science research
    • Classical planning
    • Policy research
    • The “old” public administration
basic components of a policy analysis
Basic Components of a Policy Analysis
  • Problem analysis
    • What is the problem?
    • Understanding the problem
    • Goals and constraints
  • Solution analysis
    • Policy alternatives
    • Evaluation and analysis
  • Conclusions and recommendations?
      • [Note: this is just one framework I favor. Other frameworks possible…]