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Mapping Out the Research-policy Matrix — highlights from the First International Forum on the Social Science, Policy Nexus

Germán Solinís, Nicolas Baya Laffite

Social science research provides not only abstract, conceptual knowledge about society but also concrete, instrumental knowledge. It enables us to take action to recompose the world we live in. However, this book rejects narrow and simplistic conceptions of research use and its impact on policy-making, to embrace a more complex approach to seeing and dealing with social science. In the paradigm of “evidence-based policy”, “evidence” is understood in its broad sense as information that helps form policies. Nonetheless, within current practices and discourse, it is not clear what “information” is, what is really meant by “evidence”, and how it can be obtained objectively. The book draws on papers presented at the International Forum on the Social Science-Policy Nexus, where experts examined current practices and problems in areas such as social policy, migration, urban policies and globalization. The Forum set a precedent in terms of dialogue between researchers and policy-makers. The authors contribute to enriching and elucidating the most common conceptualizations of the research-policy nexus. They represent a rich diversity of views, although most agree that an effective strategy to enhance social science-policy linkages should be underpinned by a theoretical and methodological framework that takes into account the interplay of different social actors.