‘Black magic’ and ‘gold dust’: The epistemic and political uses of ‘evidence tools’ in public health policy-making

Ellen Stewart, Katherine Smith

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Concerns about the limited influence of research on decision-making have prompted the development of tools intended to mediate evidence for policy audiences. This article focuses on three examples, prominent in public health: impact assessments; systematic reviews; and economic decision-making tools (cost-benefit analysis and scenario modelling). Each has been promoted as a means of synthesising evidence for policymakers but little is known about policy actors’ experiences of them. Employing a literature review and 69 interviews, we offer a critical analysis of their role in policy debates, arguing that their utility lies primarily in their symbolic value as markers of ‘good’ decision-making.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)415-437
Number of pages23
JournalEvidence and Policy
Volume11
Issue number3
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 21 Aug 2015

Keywords

  • impact assessments
  • systematic review
  • cost-benefit analysis (CBA)
  • modelling
  • evidence-based policy (EBP)
  • advocacy
  • decision-making tools
  • public health

Fingerprint Dive into the research topics of '‘Black magic’ and ‘gold dust’: The epistemic and political uses of ‘evidence tools’ in public health policy-making'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this