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ERIC Number: EJ946840
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2011-Dec
Pages: 29
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 66
ISBN: N/A
ISSN: ISSN-1098-2140
Known Knowns, Known Unknowns, Unknown Unknowns: The Predicament of Evidence-Based Policy
Pawson, Ray; Wong, Geoff; Owen, Lesley
American Journal of Evaluation, v32 n4 p518-546 Dec 2011
The authors present a case study examining the potential for policies to be "evidence-based." To what extent is it possible to say that a decision to implement a complex social intervention is warranted on the basis of available empirical data? The case chosen is whether there is sufficient evidence to justify banning smoking in cars carrying children. The numerous assumptions underpinning such legislation are elicited, the weight and validity of evidence for each is appraised, and a mixed picture emerges. Certain propositions seem well supported; others are not yet proven and possibly unknowable. The authors argue that this is the standard predicament of evidence-based policy. Evidence does not come in finite chunks offering certainty and security to policy decisions. Rather, evidence-based policy is an accumulative process in which the data pursue but never quite capture unfolding policy problems. The whole point is the steady conversion of "unknowns" to "knowns." (Contains 2 boxes, 1 table and 1 figure.)
SAGE Publications. 2455 Teller Road, Thousand Oaks, CA 91320. Tel: 800-818-7243; Tel: 805-499-9774; Fax: 800-583-2665; e-mail: journals@sagepub.com; Web site: http://sagepub.com
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Opinion Papers
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A