How (and How Not) to Design Research to Inform Policy-making

  • Ray Pawson
  • Nicholas Tilley
Part of the Explorations in Sociology book series (EIS)


Imagine, if you will, a senior police officer or policy adviser reading the following conclusion to a review of some twenty publicly funded professional evaluations of the effectiveness of community policing experiments:

The question is, is it (community policing) more than rhetoric? There are ample examples of failed experiments, and huge American cities where the whole concept has gone awry. On the other hand, there is evidence in many evaluations that a public hungry for attention has a great deal to tell the police and are grateful for the opportunity to do so. (Skogan, 1992).

What is the likely reaction to this? What is to be made of it? What has been learnt so far? There are failed experiments and non-failed experiments. So what? Why should a series of evaluation studies be funded at the taxpayer’s expense if this is the conclusion? Is the police officer or policy adviser any wit the wiser following a series of studies ending up here?


Police Officer Social Construction Crime Prevention Scientific Realist Policy Adviser 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© British Sociological Association 1996

Authors and Affiliations

  • Ray Pawson
  • Nicholas Tilley

There are no affiliations available

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