Witten and Hammond (2010) What becomes of social scinces knowledge....pdf

2006 as noted earlier health and education audiences

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2006). As noted earlier, health and education audiences were prominent in the proffered examples of knowledge transfer and research uptake. There are a number of limitations to the understandings that can be drawn from the data and its analysis. First, the survey is unlikely to have collected a complete record of the types of knowledge transfer and research uptake that respondents had engaged in during the previous 12 months. Respondents could list examples related to two areas of research activity only with a limit of 500 characters for each area. Many social scientists will be involved in research in a range of fields. Second, researchers determined what they understood to constitute knowledge transfer and research uptake. While provision of a document may have registered as knowledge transfer for some, the bar may have been placed considerably higher by others. A more extensive range of examples may have been generated if respondents had been asked to report on their experiences of various types of knowledge transfer and research uptake. How- ever, asking the question in the way it was posed provides information on the breadth of social scientists’ activities and their understanding of the terms knowledge transfer and research uptake. Third, asking for examples of know- ledge transfer and research uptake implies an occurrence at a point in time but, as Nutley et al. (2007) argue, ‘the use of research is ultimately a fluid and dynamic process rather than a single event’(p. 58). A survey format is probably more conducive to capturing instru- mental examples of research use rather than more subtle conceptual uses that may have challenged or informed thinking in an area. The paper began by describing knowledge use as a complex process that is both interactive and iterative (Birdsell and Omelchuk 2007; Nutley et al. 2007). It was also argued that perspectives on the contribution research makes to policy are likely to differ depending on where a person or organization is positioned in the process, for example, as a knowledge producer, funder, translator or user. To further elucidate the role locally produced social science research can play in policy development, and to consider the contribution of New Zealand research vis-a ` -vis international studies and other influ- ences on the policy development and imple- mentation process, in-depth case studies are needed. In the second phase of this research the BRCSS Network supported the compilation of in-depth case studies in three specific policy areas. The findings of the case studies will be disseminated in subsequent publications. Acknowledgements The National Survey of Social Scientists 2006 was funded by the Tertiary Education Commission through a contract to the BRCSS Network. The authors would like to thank Professor David Thorns and Professor Richard Bedford for their comments on a draft of the paper.
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