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Milbank Q. 2002;80(1):125-54.

Examining the role of health services research in public policymaking.

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McMaster University, Institute for Work & Health, Canadian Institute for Advanced Research.


Conceptual, methodological, and practical issues await those who seek to understand how to make better use of health services research in developing public policy. Some policies and some policymaking processes may lend themselves particularly well to being informed by research. Different conclusions about the extent to which policymaking is informed by research may arise from different views about what constitutes health services research (is it citable research or any professional social inquiry that can aid in problem solving?) or different views about what constitutes research use (is it explicit uses of research only, or does it also include tacit knowledge or the positions of stakeholders when they are informed by research and are influential in the policymaking process?). Some conditions may favor the use of research in policymaking, like sustained interactions between researchers and policymakers. Results from an exploratory study on the use of health services research by Canadian provincial policymakers illustrate these issues.

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