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The politics of evaluation: evidence-based policy or policy-based evidence

Guenther, John Ch., Williams, Emma and Arnott, Allan R. (2010). The politics of evaluation: evidence-based policy or policy-based evidence. In: NARU Public Seminar Series, Darwin, NT, 30 November 2010.

Document type: Conference Paper
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IRMA ID 81704288xPUB526
Author Guenther, John Ch.
Williams, Emma
Arnott, Allan R.
Title The politics of evaluation: evidence-based policy or policy-based evidence
Conference Name NARU Public Seminar Series
Conference Location Darwin, NT
Conference Dates 30 November 2010
Conference Publication Title North Australia Research Unit (NARU) 2010 Public Seminars
Publication Year 2010
HERDC Category E2 - Conference Publication - Full written paper, non refereed proceedings (internal)
Abstract The argument for evidence-based policy-making is based on assumptions that knowledge of ‘what works’ eliminates much of the risk associated with the experimental nature of policy development. And this is where evaluation ideally should — and is purported to — play a role in evidence-based policy. However, the experience of the presenters suggests that policy is often made despite the evidence of ‘what works’. This is not to suggest that evaluations around key policy issues are not carried out — they are. However, in too many cases an evaluation is designed to gather data that supports the policy. Alternatively, if the evaluation findings are politically sensitive, they may not be publicly released and may even be ignored internally. A further possibility is that the department which commissioned the evaluation will restructure and the evaluation findings no longer have relevance. All of this suggests that often ‘evidence -based policy making’ is little more than a myth. Drawing on Northern Territory examples, the presenters will argue the case for evidence-based policy and suggest the conditions required for the concept to become embedded in the practice of good policy-making.
Additional Notes Paper presented to the NARU Public Seminar Series, Darwin, 30 November 2010
 
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