Evidence in Action: Follow and Join the Conversation

May 09, 2016

Ask anyone from the White House to the halls of Congress to the street corner, and you’ll find broad consensus that decisions on public policies and programs should be informed by research evidence. But it is not always clear how to make this happen. This is why we’re launching the Evidence in Action blog—to foster conversations and share ideas about approaches to using research evidence in the service of improving public well-being.

Mathematica Policy Research established the Center for Improving Research Evidence (CIRE) in 2008, with an explicit mission to help policymakers, program leaders, and others working for the public good to understand and use research evidence in their work. Over the past five decades, Mathematica has pioneered influential research on some of the most pressing policy issues facing our nation and the world. We feel a profound sense of responsibility to communicate experiences and expertise that might benefit our colleagues in the research and policy communities who share our commitment to serving society.

CIRE fulfills its mission in several ways, particularly by bringing experts from diverse backgrounds together to address timely and important policy issues, taking into consideration what we do and do not know given the state of the evidence, and probing the ways that better evidence might be developed. Our forums have addressed substantive topics in education, child welfare, and health, highlighting innovative research approaches, such as advanced analytics, implementation science, and systematic reviews. However, as policy discourse evolves, research methods advance, and evidence continues to be developed, we need more ongoing conversation.

Evidence in Action provides a forum for such conversation. Blog posts will offer expert perspectives on current policy topics and nontechnical commentary on methodological issues that are important for the generation and use of high quality evidence. Where evidence is strong, experts will help readers to understand and apply it; where evidence is underdeveloped or inconclusive, they will suggest what to make of it and how we might learn more.

By highlighting and sharing expertise and objective, rigorous research in areas of public interest, Evidence in Action will foster dialogue among policymakers, practitioners, and researchers. We hope that the perspectives shared on our blog will contribute to both policies and programs that are more informed by evidence and research that is more relevant and accessible to decision makers.

As CIRE director, I am excited to launch Evidence in Action—and I encourage you to join the conversation.


The opinions expressed on the Evidence in Action blog are those of the author(s).