The Role of Information in the Policy Process: Implications for the Examination of Research Utilization in Higher Education Policy
Connecting research and policy persists as one of higher education’s most pressing challenges. Yet, the extent to which states rely on research evidence to craft policy remains under-studied. This chapter examines research utilization and public policy theory for their conceptual implications on how researchers might examine the role of information in the higher education policymaking process. The review of literature includes education-related studies, but also reviews classic studies drawn from political science, policy analysis, and evaluation. The inventory of how five theories of the policy process incorporate the research utilization literature identifies possible conceptual extensions of these frameworks and holds promise for increasing our understanding of how research influences policy. This chapter also discuss the influence of two types of intermediary organizations—state higher education agencies and regional compacts—on research utilization in the higher education policymaking process.