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NCJ Number: 51458 Find in a Library
Title: LINKING KNOWLEDGE TO SOCIAL POLICY-MAKING - AN INTERVIEW WITH AMITAI ETZIONI
Journal: EVALUATION  Dated:SPECIAL ISSUE (1978)  Pages:54-62
Author(s): S SALASIN
Corporate Author: Minneapolis Medical Research Foundation, Inc
United States of America
Date Published: 1978
Page Count: 9
Sponsoring Agency: Minneapolis Medical Research Foundation, Inc
Minneapolis, MN 55415
Type: Report (Study/Research)
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: A SOCIAL SCIENTIST/ACTIVIST DISCUSSES HIS PERSPECTIVES ON INTERACTIONS BETWEEN SOCIAL SCIENCE RESEARCH AND POLICYMAKING, AND ON THE SOCIAL SCIENTIST'S RESPONSIBILITIES.
Abstract: ETZIONI POINTS OUT THAT THERE IS A NEED FOR TWO DISCIPLINES IN SOCIAL SCIENCE: BASIC RESEARCH; AND A SEPARATE DISCIPLINE THAT ARRANGES SOCIAL SCIENCE RESEARCH AND KNOWLEDGE IN A WAY THAT IS DIRECTLY USEFUL TO POLICYMAKING. IT IS SUGGESTED THAT RESEARCHERS WHO INTERACT AND COMMUNICATE WITH POLICYMAKING COMMUNITIES WILL BECOME BETTER RESEARCHERS, WILL BE ABLE TO ASSURE THAT POLICYMAKERS RECEIVE THEIR MESSAGE, AND WILL BE BETTER ABLE TO MEET THEIR OBLIGATIONS AS CITIZENS. ETZIONI DESCRIBES THE INFLUENCES THAT LED HIM TO HIS ACTIVIST ORIENTATION, SUGGESTS THAT APPLIED RESEARCH IS BECOMING MORE PRESTIGIOUS, AND SUMMARIZES HIS THEORY OF SOCIETAL GUIDANCE AS A PREFERRED MEANS FOR BRINGING ABOUT DELIBERATE SOCIAL CHANGE. THE INTERVIEW ALSO TOUCHES ON KNOWLEDGE AS A FACTOR IN DEALING WITH SOCIAL PROBLEMS; THE NEED FOR IMPROVED METHODOLOGY IN THE FIELD OF SOCIAL ANALYSIS--THE SYSTMEATIC EXPLORATION OF SOCIAL ISSUES; WAYS IN WHICH SOCIAL ANALYSTS CAN GAIN ENTRY INTO THE POLICY PROCESS, AND THEIR ROLE IN THAT PROCESS; AND THE ROLE OF THE EVALUATOR AS AN AGENT OF CHANGE. THE NEED TO INTRODUCE SOCIAL SCIENCE PERSPECTIVES INTO THE HIGHEST POLICYMAKING PERHAPS BY APPOINTING SOCIAL SCIENCE ADVISORS TO THE PRESIDENT AND CONGRESS IS CONSIDERED. IMPORTANT DETERMINANTS OF WHETHER RESEARCH FINDINGS INFLUENCE POLICY DECISIONS--CONTEXT, TIMELINESS, AND DISSEMINATION--ARE IDENTIFIED, AND EXAMPLE OF POLICY RESEARCH THAT HAD A SUBSTANTIVE EFFECT ON THE FORMATION OR ALTERATION OF A POLICY ARE CITED. SHORTCOMINGS IN THE FIELD OF PROGRAM EVALUATION ARE POINTED OUT, WITH REFERENCE TO THE TENDENCY OF THE GOVERNMENT'S REQUEST-FOR-PROPOSAL FUNDING MECHANISM TO PERPETUATE TECHNICAL DEFICIENCIES AND ETHICAL PROBLEMS. IN RESPONSE TO A QUESTION ABOUT THE ROOTS OF CONTEMPORARY EVALUATION METHODS, IT IS OBSERVED THAT EVALUATION IS IMPLICIT IN EVERY MANAGEMENT SYSTEM, AND THAT FORMAL EVALUATION, IDEALLY, PROFESSIONALIZES WHAT IS DONE OTHERWISE 'BY THE SEAT OF THE PANTS.' THE NEED TO DEVELOP BASIC CRITERIA FOR EVALUATION STUDIES AND TO BE WILLING TO USE INFORMAL EVALUATIONS WHERE THEY ARE APPROPRIATE IS POINTED OUT. ADVICE IS OFFERED TO SCIENTISTS WHO WISH TO BECOME INVOLVED IN THE POLICY PROCESS.
Index Term(s): Behavioral and Social Sciences; Evaluative research; Policy; Policy analysis; Research
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http://www.ncjrs.gov/App/publications/abstract.aspx?ID=51458

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