We aim to assess mechanisms that we expect underpin the outcomes of our collaboration efforts. Evaluation of our processes and associated outcomes is important for informing improvements to our approach as well as contributing to what is known about strategies for enhancing policymakers’ use of research evidence. While we are currently seeking support for answering some of these questions, some of this work has begun on a limited basis. Our primary questions include:
How can we improve the reach of research dissemination efforts?
Our work with researchers and legislative offices often culminates in the production of collaborative products, such as policy briefs. We hope to learn more about the ways in which we can strengthen the reach of these efforts. Presently, we are investigating under what circumstances legislative staff are more prone to open research materials via email.
Are researchers feeling more equipped to engage with legislative offices?
Part of our collaboration efforts include opportunities for researchers to learn and practice skills for working in public policy. We hope to learn more about the impact of participation in webinars and in structured rapid response efforts guided by coordinators who coach and provide feedback on applications of research in policy efforts.
How can research evidence be used in legislation?
While “Evidence-based Policy” has drawn a lot of attention from both legislators and intermediary organizations, little is known about how research evidence is infused into legislative language. Understanding how research has been written into bills or laws will allow us to draw on examples when partnering with legislative offices seeking to enhance a research basis in the bills they draft.
What sort of collaborative products might surface through the RPC?
Working with legislative offices and researchers offers the unique opportunity to learn more about the development and benefits of these interactions. How do legislative offices and researchers work together? What are their perceptions of accomplishments? What are the short-term benefits of these collaborative projects?
Are we supporting ongoing connections between legislative staff and researchers?
We are constantly seeking new information about how to improve our collaboration with researchers and legislative offices. By assessing processes that improve these relationships, we hope to foster conditions that will lead to trusting, enduring connections.