Itzhak Yanovitzky: Why Should We Study the Use of Research Evidence as a Behavior?

Further progress on our study of what research looks like and how we can promote research use among policymakers and practitioners is impeded by the persistent challenge of studying and measuring use of research evidence. Elizabeth Farley-Ripple has argued that research use remains rather elusive as a target of measurement largely because it is not well defined or fully connected with actual practice. If the use of research evidence is inherently about what users do with evidence, then it makes complete sense to study it as a behavior. The most obvious advantage of doing so is that we already have valid and reliable tools—theories, models, frameworks, methods, and measures—to measure and analyze behavior in a systematic way. These can be rather easily adapted to create measures of the who, what, why, how, when, and where aspects of evidence use that are comparable across different actors, settings, and circumstances as well as over time.

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