Farm Bill & Research
Nancy Grudens Schuck (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Wed, 1 Mar 1995 12:35:21 +0100
>Hi! This is in response to Marc Safely's suggestion that we more effectively communicate research results to policy makers. This is a good suggestion. To add to the discussion, I would like to explore what 'effective' might mean. I am not a policy expert, but from familiarity with program evaluation literature (Carol Weiss, others) and , I have become aware that 'research' does not equal 'definitive facts' from a policy makers point of view. I would guess that from many a scientist's point of view, the idea that research is 'facts and nothing but the facts' is a simplistic and brash anyway. But when we think about sharing research results with policy makers, do we feel *they should* accept research work as 'facts'? Many times, I feel we do. Of course, for the policy maker and aides, their view might be that they are surrounded by *many* researchers, all with 'real facts', and these real facts differ enormously. One gal says pesticides are safe; she's got the facts to prove !
it; the another gal says they are dangerous; and she's got other facts to prove it. Layer upon this situation the likelyhood that FACTS are not the only relevant pieces in the policy-making puzzle. There are LEGITIMATE political interests, affective issues, sequence, timing, etc. When we present research to policy makers, can we talk about WHY our results seem different from the other guy's 'facts'? Do we think of ways that research can solve a policy makers problems? How do we feel when a policy maker draws broad generalizations from work we feel is more narrowly applicable? What effect does this have on us, and our willingness to share and talk about research? I think we all know that these issues apply - and certainly the sus ag lobbyists have developed this knack - but I have *many more times* seen the research community approach people in decision-making positions (e.g. policy makers, community development workers, farmers!) as if the overriding concern were the right!
ness of our facts. I am NOT arguing for less research, for hiding research, for failing to communicate research, or for doing different kinds of research that support science for sustainability, but I do think we need to develop a finer-grained perspective on what function research may have in policy-making, and what legitimate perspectives others may have of the function of scientific research in decision-making. On to the 1995 farm bill! Thanks, Nancy Grudens Schuck
This is in support of Chuck Benbrook's recent message about the sustainable
>ag situation an the farm bill. His last paragraph hits at the crux of the
>issue...research results have not been communicated effectively to policy-
>makers. How the sustainable ag community wishes to address this deficiency
>is open to discussion, but action must take place soon. Congressman
>Armey has said that the House will begin farm legislation deliberations
>after the 100 days (the first 100 that is) are completed.
Nancy Grudens Schuck
Department of Education
Kennedy Hall, Cornell University
Ithaca, Ny 14853
"e-mail is preferred"