Expanding the Domain of Policy-Relevant Scholarship in the Social Sciences

15 Pages Posted: 14 Jul 2008

See all articles by William Julius Wilson

William Julius Wilson

Harvard University - Harvard Kennedy School (HKS)

Date Written: February 2002

Abstract

In this paper the author argues that social scientists need to do more to provide policy-relevant research. Rapid technological and economic change raise new issues about how policy should adjust that are not adequately addressed by older and narrower approaches. The author suggests two ways in which the domain of policy-relevant scholarship can be expanded. First, social scientists should be more flexible about the kinds of data they use and the ways they use them. Preliminary data can suggest new hypotheses, which can widen debate, and ethnographic and other qualitative methods can uncover patterns of behaviour invisible in quantitative sources. Second, social theories, concepts and ideas should play a greater role in the policy arena, shaping the way policy actors think about how the world works.

Suggested Citation

Wilson, William Julius, Expanding the Domain of Policy-Relevant Scholarship in the Social Sciences (February 2002). LSE STICERD Research Paper No. CASE052. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1158943

William Julius Wilson (Contact Author)

Harvard University - Harvard Kennedy School (HKS) ( email )

79 John F. Kennedy Street
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

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