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Policymakers Should Use Scientific Evidence, Professor Writes

William Gormley Headshot

William Gormley.

August 22, 2011 – Public policy professor William Gormley examines the relationship between scientific research and public policy in his article “From Science to Policy in Early Childhood Education Policy,” published in Science magazine’s Aug. 19 issue.

“Applied scientific research ought to be used by public officials to improve public policy,” explains Gormley, who also serves as co-director of the Center for Research on Children in the United States (CROCUS).

Gormley explains the challenges and possibilities involved in applying research to policy.

Promoting Research

He frames his argument around his own area of research, early childhood education, where he says empirical evidence is relatively strong.

“At the individual level, scientists can promote the use of research by producing digestible policy briefs, by reaching out to practitioners on a regular basis and by framing issues so that public officials can understand and appreciate their significance,” Gormley writes.

Scientists also must be creative in designing rigorous tests to answer difficult questions and effectively interpret the evidence they produce, the professor says.

“All of these steps will strengthen the connection between science and public policy.”

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