, Volume 43, Issue 7, pp 849–857 | Cite as

A Narrative Policy Approach to Environmental Conservation

  • Ricky N. Lawton
  • Murray A. Rudd


Due to the urgency and seriousness of the loss of biological diversity, scientists from across a range of disciplines are urged to increase the salience and use of their research by policy-makers. Increased policy nuance is needed to address the science–policy gap and overcome divergent views of separate research and policy worlds, a view still relatively common among conservation scientists. Research impact considerations should recognize that policy uptake is dependent on contextual variables operating in the policy sphere. We provide a novel adaptation of existing policy approaches to evidence impact that accounts for non-evidentiary “societal” influences on decision-making. We highlight recent analytical tools from political science that account for the use of evidence by policy-makers. Using the United Kingdom’s recent embrace of the ecosystem approach to environmental management, we advocate analyzing evidence research impact through a narrative lens that accounts for the credibility, legitimacy, and relevance of science for policy.


Context Research impacts Narrative Policy Framework Ecosystem services Converger Diverger 



This research paper was supported by ESRC doctoral funding to RNL. We thank C. Burns and D. Raffaelli for comments on an earlier draft.


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Copyright information

© Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Environment DepartmentUniversity of YorkYorkUK

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