Credibility in Policy Expertise: The Function of Boundaries Between Research and Policy

Kate Williams
2019 Policy Studies Journal  
As science becomes an increasingly crucial resource for addressing complex challenges in society, extensive demands are placed upon the researchers who produce it. Creating valuable expert knowledge that intervenes in policy or practice requires knowledge brokers to facilitate interactions at the boundary between research and policy. Yet, existing research lacks a compelling account of the ways in which brokerage is performed to gain credibility. Drawing on mixed-method analysis of 12 policy
more » ... earch settings, I outline a novel set of strategies for attaining symbolic power, whereby policy experts position themselves and others via conceptual distances drawn between the "world of ideas" and the "world of policy and practice." Disciplinary distance works to situate research as either disciplinary or undisciplinary, epistemic distance creates a boundary between complex specialist research and direct digestible outputs, temporal distance represents the separation of slow rigorous research and agile responsive analysis, and economic distance situates research as either pure and intrinsic or marketable and fundable. I develop a theoretical account that unpacks the boundaries between research communities and shows how these boundaries permit policy research actors to achieve various strategic aims.
doi:10.1111/psj.12342 fatcat:h2zbzfsfjzdffoqy4yhcpxs5py