Social Learning: A Model for Policy Research

Friedmann, J. & Abonyi, G. (1976). Social Learning: A Model for Policy Research. IIASA Research Memorandum. IIASA, Laxenburg, Austria: RM-76-026

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This paper concerns the question of how policy research can be made more useful in practice. Two types of policy research may be distinguished. The first is research on issues in the public realm and not addressed to a specific client. The "consumers" of this type of research -- those whom it stimulates to thought -- are other interested scholars and practitioners, and the arguments proceed from many different quarters and perspectives. Answers given in this context are neither right nor wrong: they merely illuminate an issue of public concern and enhance our understanding of it. In this special sense, policy research resembles, in Cohen and Garet's language, "a discourse about social reality -- a debate about social problems and their solutions".

The second type of policy research does have a client and is therefore pitched to an existing social problem that is located within a specific policy environment. Although we recognize that the distinction we are attempting to draw is imprecise, we propose to deal in this paper with only the second type of policy research and further limit ourselves to social policy.

Such research is bought and sold, but its results are rarely used in the solution of a problem. Our intention, then, is to find out why and in what circumstances this outcome is highly probable and what, if anything, might be done about it.

Item Type: Monograph (IIASA Research Memorandum)
Research Programs: Human Settlements and Services Area (HSS)
Depositing User: IIASA Import
Date Deposited: 15 Jan 2016 01:43
Last Modified: 27 Aug 2021 17:08

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