When a researcher begins a project, they do so with the idea that their questions and outcomes could make an impact in the field they are working on. Sometimes this happens, other times it’s not as successful. But when the outcome of a project is so insightful that it needs to be addressed quickly, the information needs to somehow get in the hands of the appropriate policymakers.
Policymakers, of course, want to know how they can improve the parts of the world they’re responsible for addressing. However, they’re often inundated with information that is deemed to be relevant and ends up being a waste of their important time. As a researcher with true, legitimate, crucial information, this makes it difficult to get your work seen by the necessary people. In order to help the policymakers see your work as pertinent in a sea of so many unnecessary papers, you have to think strategically with your methods of communication.
The Role of Research in Policymaking
The typical policymaker analyzes the policy in question and uses evidence-based research to determine what needs to be addressed, what’s working, and what could use a tweak or an overhaul. How they get that research in their hands is often the key to what they decide.
When a researcher decides on a policy issue that they want to question or improve, there are a few steps they take:
● First, they design the questions that need to be addressed, often using the policymaker’s input if possible. This usually happens via a third party, called a knowledge broker, tasked with informing the policymaker of the changes and collaborating with the researcher to keep abreast of the project.
● Then, the researcher designs the experiment and attempts to answer the questions through evidence collected throughout the project. Through research, surveys, academic sources, reviews of policy topics, and their own data collection elements, the evidence is obtained.
● The researcher analyzes the evidence and compiles it into a paper ready for publication. However, this final piece can’t be sent to the policymaker until it is turned into an abstract form that highlights the key pieces of information and is run through the knowledge broker for clarification.
By working with the knowledge broker and the policymakers, relevant information can be used to address a societal change.
Communicating With Policymakers
Your information is important and you want it to get to the policymaker as soon as possible. But the best way to do this is actually to go slowly.
When you jump straight into sending your work to the policymaker directly, it probably won’t get to them. They are overloaded with emails, paper mail, phone calls, voicemails, texts, and other methods of attempted communication, to the point that they typically send most of these messages to an assistant who may or may not understand the relevance of what is being communicated. This funnel system means that much of what is sent to the policymaker never gets seen by them.
Instead of taking it upon yourself to ensure the policymaker sees your work, it’s best to go through a third-party knowledge broker when possible. Doing this when it’s a time-sensitive issue can be difficult, so many researchers work ahead of time with building a network and a relationship between themselves and the staff and knowledge brokers of policymakers in their field. This way, when information comes to light that is urgent or relevant, the third parties between you and the policymakers already have an understanding of your expertise and reputability and are able and willing to fast-track your work to the necessary people for the policymaker to see what you have to say.
Another way to get your work seen visibly by policymakers is to make it open access. When everyone can see it, if it’s important, it’ll make waves. These waves will be quickly brought to the attention of the policymaker.
Finally, while your submission for a journal or other scholarly paper should use academic language, when you want a policymaker to review your results, make sure the language you use is informative and professional while still being comprehensible to the readers, who probably don’t have the same knowledge background as you do in the subject.
These tips will help you communicate with your policymakers in a streamlined, efficient manner should you uncover insightful research that should be in their hands.
Submit Your Information with Impactio
The avenues you use to attempt communication with policymakers are important, but so is the work that gets put on their desk. You finally have the opportunity to share your insightful research with the crucial person, so it’s got to look professional. Impactio can make this happen for you.
With Impactio, expert researchers have an all-in-one platform where they can combine their work into text and graphic content. Whether you need an insightful report to reveal your research impact or an academic resume to present to your audience, you can do it all in Impactio’s easy to use program.
Create professional PDF documents or web pages, track your work’s impact after publication through citation indicators, and join a network of other experts in Impactio’s community.
Everything you need to get your work in front of the right people to make an impact is available with Impactio.