The Unique Methodology of Policy Research
Etzioni, Amitai. "The Unique Methodology of Policy Research." Oxford Handbooks Online. 2009-09-02. Oxford University Press. Date of access 16 Oct. 2013
14 Pages Posted: 15 Nov 2013
Date Written: June 1, 2008
Most research methodologies are geared towards basic research. There is a need to develop a distinct methodology for policy research. Its most important attribute is that it must focus research on those variables that are malleable. For basic researchers, whether or not a given factor can be changed or - is a given condition, is not of more interest than any other significant differences in attributes. In principle, all worse knowing. In contrast, for a policy researcher, the level of malleability is central because policy research seeks not merely to understand the world but also to help change it. Next a policy researcher needs to rank variables according to their relative degree of malleability.
Another key difference between basic and policy research is that the first kind of research can remain highly focused, and drill deep to study one or a few variables. Policy researchers best open their lenses wide - because when changes are sought it is not possible to ignore any of the variables that account for a significant part of the variance. Additional differences between the two kinds of research include the ways they are reported, whether the information is or is not public, and their normativity.
Keywords: policy research, methodology
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation