Mapping the Field: Use of Research Evidence in Policy and Practice

Elizabeth N. Farley-Ripple, Annette Boaz, Kathryn Oliver, Robert Borst, Xiaoxue Zhang
October 30, 2018

The use of research evidence (URE) in policy and practice is relevant to many academic
disciplines; and indeed many policy and practice domains. Different methods and approaches to
measuring, evaluating, promoting and describing the various ways in which evidence and
policy/practice interact have sprung up, reflecting the broad and diverse areas where this is a
concern. There has also been an explosion of research into how evidence is produced and used,
with dedicated journals and increased funding for URE work emerging over last 15 years. Yet at
the same time, those engaged in the scholarship and practice of URE face challenges advancing
the field in terms of both accumulation of knowledge over time and across disciplines and
intervention and improvement in evidence use. Our shared interest in advancing URE and its
efforts, in collaboration with the William T. Grant Foundation, brought us together to “map the
field” in this research report, with the objective of provoking a conversation about where we are and what we need to
move forward.


In addition to the research report, the authors also provide two additional resources:

Finding Support: Organizations Funding URE Work

Scholars across disciplines and countries are engaging in work related to the use of research evidence (URE). Their work is funded by a range of sources, from private philanthropies to government agencies, demonstrating the scope and scale of commitment across the globe. This document clarifies the scope of support for this work and promotes funding opportunities and potential collaboration among URE scholars and leaders across organizations.

Influential Works: Knowledge Utilization References

Our first step in “mapping the field” was to learn more about who does this work and who has influenced their efforts. In this document, we share one of the first products – a reference list. More than 120 resources, spanning decades, disciplines, and formats are included.



Keywords: Use of research evidence, evidence-based policy and practice, evidence use, knowledge utilization, research use, knowledge broker, improvement science, program evaluation,  education policy, research-practice partnerships, studies of research use, research impact

Authors: Elizabeth N. Farley-Ripple, Annette Boaz, Kathryn Oliver, Robert Borst, Xiaoxue Zhang