Tampering with the evidence: a critical appraisal of evidence-based policy-making

Marston, G and Watts, R 2003, 'Tampering with the evidence: a critical appraisal of evidence-based policy-making', The Drawing Board: an Australian Review of Public Affairs., vol. 3, no. 3, pp. 143-163.


Document type: Journal Article
Collection: Journal Articles

Title Tampering with the evidence: a critical appraisal of evidence-based policy-making
Author(s) Marston, G
Watts, R
Year 2003
Journal name The Drawing Board: an Australian Review of Public Affairs.
Volume number 3
Issue number 3
Start page 143
End page 163
Total pages 21
Publisher University of Sydney, School of Economics and Political Science
Abstract Recent enthusiasm for evidence-based policy-making in Australia has many sources. So-called 'managerialist' reforms to public administration have been significant, as has the diffusion of particular bio-medical models of research. However the meaning and practice of 'evidence-based policy' are contested. We offer an account of the design of arguments to identify and critically assess the value of evidence-based claims and their relationship to evidence-based policy. Our critique indicates the very wide range of what can properly count as evidence, based on a premise about the irreducible richness and complexity of social reality. We highlight the importance of being thoughtful about the assumptions that shape policy research questions and 'warrant' the conceptual connections that constitute knowledge claims. We illustrate our arguments with a policy research case study on juvenile crime.
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