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Congressional Offices

Benefits to Your Office

The Research-to-Policy Collaboration is a non-partisan, unbiased resource for building connections between policymakers and researchers as an approach to evidence-based policy. We maximize our utility by leveraging the expertise of our network of scientific researchers to provide support on your current legislative efforts. Rather than coming to you with an agenda or specific requests - the RPC seeks to understand your policy priorities related to families and children. Overall, we seek to engage staff in mutually beneficial connections with researchers who can work with you on things you’re planning to work on already.

Complementing the Congressional Research Service:

The Congressional Research Service offers tremendous capacity to distill scientific evidence. The RPC seeks to complement those resources by offering direct connections with research experts with whom nuanced dialogue about the state of the evidence and its implications is possible. Furthermore, 

 

while CRS responds to specific requests, the RPC can facilitate open dialogue with researchers to reveal opportunities for innovative policies that have not yet been considered.

 

Lastly, we also believe that these connections are important for informing the research community on the types of questions they could explore that would be most relevant and responsive to policymakers’ needs.

What Legislators can Gain by Working with the RPC:

The RPC responds to legislative requests by:

  1. Collecting and summarizing relevant resources for offices 

  2. Soliciting professional networks for consensus on topics or information on more obscure requests

  3. Planning congressional briefings to be sponsored by the congressional office

  4. Supporting congressional hearings that include researcher testimony

  5. Collaborating on legislative language 

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Working with the RPC

Participating offices may be involved in several steps that allow us to understand your needs for expertise and connect you with those who can support your work. The following list describes instances where participating offices will be asked to be involved:

 

  1. Preliminary meeting with the coordinator who will work to understand your policy priorities and ways that researchers could be involved to support your efforts.

  2. Consultative meetings with researchers occur on an as-needed basis. Some of these will occur by phone, as research experts live in areas across the country; whereas there are also some opportunities for meeting face-to-face, which will be arranged by the coordinator. 

  3. Collaboration – any requests that you make for information, for a policy brief, etc. require time for planning how to maximize the utility of researchers’ response to your requests. 

  4. You may be asked to participate in evaluative interviews so that we can find ways to improve our approach for supporting legislative offices.

How We Approach Congressional Needs

The Research-to-Policy Collaboration can assist with your office’s efforts in a number of ways, including:

 

  1. Leveraging the value of prevention: The status quo of our system's agendas and policies tends to prioritize reactive solutions to existing problems rather than eliminating problems before they occur. The RPC strives to reorient problem-solving processes with a proactive lens that most often reduces burden on citizens' quality of life and need for tax dollars. 

  2. Accessing information directly: Literature reviews are incredible assets for translating research into policy recommendations, but the ability to directly connect with experts regarding a topic allows offices to ask nuanced questions regarding practical applications of research. The RPC seeks to support both one-on-one connections and Congressional briefings, where primary experts are made available for consultation. 

  3. Requesting information for prospective legislation: Oftentimes there are plentiful resources on topics that are on the forefront of the agenda, but information is needed even before legislation is written or introduced in Committees. The RPC can respond to requests for information even if the issue is not yet highly visible in the policy arena. 

  4. Action-oriented recommendations: Research-informed recommendations are an important piece of the equation, but are sometimes not specific enough to be written into legislation. The RPC seeks to support efforts to translate recommendations into tangible language that can be adapted for legislation.

  5. Implementing existing legislation: We recognize that the passage of legislation is merely one step of the process and much work needs to be done following. The RPC's network of practicing evaluators and community-based consultants may have the expertise you need for making recommendations that will support adequate infrastructure for successful implementation in communities.

  6. Informing future research: The divide between research and policy operates in both directions. Not only does the RPC seek to translate existing research, we also recognize that interactions with legislative staff can inform researchers about policymakers’ unanswered questions that should be addressed with future studies.