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The main argument

  1. Romulo Miguel Pinheiro
  2. Stephen Gorard, PhD
  3. Using evidence to influence policy: Oxfam’s experience | Palgrave Communications

Oxfam combines evidence with reasoned argument, strategic framing, and appeals to values, compassion and enlightened self-interest, to increase the salience and influence of research to its target audiences. Where needed, this is supplemented by additional research.

For example, the findings from a recent ten-country survey by Oxfam showed that informing people: a about the overall level of inequality and lack of social mobility, and b where they are situated in the income distribution, can increase support for certain types of government action Hoy and Mager One of the various framing tactics Oxfam uses to increase the influence of its research on target audiences is to humanise complex issues.

Its research for the Arms Trade campaign is a powerful example Hillier and Wood, The inclusion of survivors in campaign communications, UN delegations, regional meetings and gatherings meant that the campaign was able to stay focused on the ultimate humanitarian aim of the treaty, and ensure that those most affected by the issues had a say in the policy direction of the campaign Green, Oxfam policy staff wrote the first NGO paper on tax havens in June which, by reframing tax as a development problem depriving developing countries of funding for health and education, catalysed the formation of the Global Tax Justice network and global campaigns on tax avoidance Kimmis and Mayne, For example, Oxfam GB is carrying out research to better understand and appeal to the concerns and values of its public audiences in relation to refugees.

The effectiveness of such value-based framing has been demonstrated in campaigns on same-sex partnership in Ireland and US. Second, the simple presentation of a few powerful but targeted facts can focus an audience on a profoundly critical issue. The ensuing media furore was startling and raised important issues on timing a similar juxtaposition the previous year sank without trace and framing. Subsequent annual updates of the statistics received similar levels of attention. Third, visualisations help increase the accessibility of evidence. This concept has gained widespread traction and prompted the author to develop a broader and acclaimed critique of the discipline of economics Raworth, Fourth, the messenger can be as important as the message.

Oxfam works with and works with a range of influential people - from civil society leaders to experts, thought leaders, and celebrities - to help communicate its research findings and policy asks. It also enrols external voices to support is influencing efforts. Such windows may arise from critical junctures, such as regime change, to more subtle shifts, such as changes in public mood or media narratives. They may occur suddenly or unpredictably, requiring the capacity to detect and respond quickly. In these circumstances, there is rarely enough time to produce new research or work on novel solutions.

Rather, Oxfam may repackage existing research to fit with the new policy framing and focus on getting evidence into the right hands at the right time. Policymakers in the middle of a political change or crisis, and who are seeking advice, are also far likelier to pick up the phone to researchers they already know than to make new contacts or start reading unsolicited reports. Research advocates and policy influencers therefore need to invest in building links and relationships with decision makers in advance of such opportunities. The Robin Hood Tax campaign provides an effective example of the strategic use of a window of opportunity.

In , Nobel laureate economist James Tobin suggested introducing a small tax on all financial transactions between different currencies, to curb short-term speculation and raise money for good causes. The idea got nowhere until advocated by NGOs after the global financial crisis of Crushed by debt repayments, finance ministers sought new sources of revenue for their cash-strapped governments. The banks and currency traders who opposed the tax had suddenly become pariahs. By the European Commission had proposed a Europe-wide tax on financial transactions although negotiations continue as of , across only ten countries.

Romulo Miguel Pinheiro

Similarly, through good relationships with journalists, Oxfam was able to make use of the leaks of the Panama and Paradise papers. For example, it and allies used the release of the Panama papers to make tax avoidance a key issue on the agenda of the anti-Corruption Summit hosted by David Cameron in The type and presentation of research also needs to be tailored to the salience of a policy issue. Ideas may move from a fringe issue to public debate to a key policy issue. The type of research required to get something on the public agenda is different from research designed to influence specific pieces of legislation.

Such experiences suggest that the way in which evidence is co-produced, framed, timed and presented can be as important as its substance. Research quality matters, but can only have an impact if enough powerful actors are motivated to read it and have opportunities to act on the implications. Maximising the influence of evidence on policy requires alliances of different actors using a combination of influencing strategies:.

Staff, partners and allies adapt the mix, timing and sequencing of these influencing strategies to specific contexts and events. For example, public campaigns and protests targeting national governments may not be possible in contexts of restricted civic space so staff may focus more on the long-term work of building social movements and alternatives. Oxfam also routinely considers and varies its own role according to the issue or context. On some global issues, where it is seeking to shift the terms of debate such as inequality, it retains a direct, bold and public voice.

In many Global South contexts, it plays a supportive behind the scenes role due to its desire to support and not supplant local civil society voice or because of government sovereignty concerns Shephard et al. It also re-emphasised the importance of 1 walking the talk i. Using evidence effectively for policy influencing requires trial and error. Many NGOs, including Oxfam, have developed creative ways to compensate for their limited research capacity and to maximise their limited resources.

These include:. Good Narratives that turn evidence and research into messages that stick in the minds of decision makers and opinion formers. Senior officials may have only 30 seconds to get hooked or not on what you are trying to say. NGOs are less tied down than academics driven by the timescales of academic funding and publication requirements.

Civil society focus is often urgent, immediate, and in response to events. NGOs can move quickly and loudly, reaching as many people as possible with clear messages of change.

Stephen Gorard, PhD

NGOs invest heavily in building relationships with decision makers. Relationships can greatly increase research impact, because policymakers often open up to new ideas when a crisis hits but remain most likely to contact people they know and trust. Oxfam seeks to adapt its influencing positions, strategies and tactics in the light of reflection and experience.

However, Oxfam is a big place, with no one size fits all approach about how to maximise influence of evidence on policy makers. Internally, debates include:. What is the most effective mix, timing and sequencing of evidence and influencing tactics to maximise policy impact in a range of different contexts? To what extent should Oxfam identify and advocate for generic policy solutions and process issues, or seek to support context specific solutions through local iteration and experimentation?

We have described what Oxfam regards as good practice, but it is not universally observed and there are still challenges and unanswered questions. Plenty of Oxfam activity fails to hit its mark because of poor power analysis, an unconvincing narrative, an inappropriate framing or format for the key audience or sub-optimal mix and sequencing of influencing strategies and tactics. Therefore, advocates of evidence-informed policy, including Oxfam, need to reflect continuously on the evidence of their own success and failure.

This is in turn linked to its perceived or actual legitimacy, authority, accountability, competence, integrity values and practice , independence and quality of relationships, among other things Oxfam internal market insights surveys; Lukes, ; Ezekiel, ; Mayne and Coe, The ensuing media and public debate negatively affected perceptions of Oxfam, although the impact varied considerably between different geographies, issues and audiences.

The use of evidence for policy influencing has many ingredients: a robust evidence base, framing and persuasion, simple storytelling, building coalitions, learning the rules of the game in many different systems, the use of complementary influencing strategies, and a process of continuous reflection and change in light of experience and context. This message can be gleaned from a summary of the many steps from evidence to impact, as follows. Take a value and evidence based stance to identify the need for change in policy and policymaking.

Identify the actors with the power to change policy, and the actors able to influence policymakers. Understand which strategies help produce most change, focusing on specific institutions and wider contextual trends. Identify people affected by the research and your target audiences, and work with them throughout relevant stages of research planning and production.

Learn how to frame your evidence and provide it to your audience at the right time, using powerful visuals and well-known messengers. Test and adapt insider, outsider and other influencing strategies in light of experience, using trial and error across political systems and over time.

Stay agile, engage with policymakers readily and continuously, respond quickly to events, test and learn from your strategies, and be prepared to trade-off accurate but ineffective versus simplified and effective messages.

Biographical details

In other words, by showing the scale of this task, we show that evidence alone will not come close to making the difference. Publisher's note: Springer Nature remains neutral with regard to jurisdictional claims in published maps and institutional affiliations. Palgrave Commun Hong Duc Publishing House, Vietnam. Chicago University Press, Chicago. University of Chicago Press, Chicago. Am J Pol Sci 53 3 — J Int Law — Cambridge University Press, Cambridge. Palgrave Springer, London. Policy Stud J 44 1 — Cairney P, Kwiatkowski R How to communicate effectively with policymakers: combine insights from psychology and policy studies.

Policy Sci 50 4 — Cairney P b Three habits of successful policy entrepreneurs. Policy Polit 46 2 — Public Adm Rev 76 3 — Davidson B Storytelling and evidence-based policy: Lessons from the grey literature. Ezekiel Z Rebuilding Trust in Canadian organisations: Governance and corporate social responsibility. Fuentes-Nieves and Galasso Working for the Few. Anal, IDS Bull 37 6 — Geyer R, Cairney P eds. Oxford University Press. Chapter Conclusion: University Ambiguities and Analytic Eclecticism. Chapter 8. Pinheiro, Romulo Normann, Roger Henning Designed for Regional Engagement?

Chapter 3. Economic specialization and diversification at the country and regional level: introducing a conceptual framework to study innovation policy logics. Marginson, Simon Pinheiro, Romulo Horizontal Diversity. Chapter 4. Hladchenko, Myroslava Pinheiro, Romulo Hauge, Elisabeth S. Pinheiro, Romulo Zyzak, Barbara Knowledge bases and regional development: collaborations between higher education and cultural creative industries. The International Journal of Cultural Policy. Pinheiro, Romulo Towards a strategic alignment: Regional challenges and university tensions in peripheral geographies..

Chapter 7. Chapter 1. Pinheiro, Romulo Young, Mitchell Theory and Method in Higher Education Research. Emerald Group Publishing Limited. Agency, Networks and Complexity: The many roles of academic institutions in regional development and coalition building. Exploring the interplay between 'fashion' and 'evidence based'policy: A comparative account of higher education and health care in the Nordics. Scandinavian journal of public administration.

Higher Education Policy. Benneworth, Paul Pinheiro, Romulo Benneworth, Paul Zeeman, N. Pinheiro, Romulo Karlsen, James Tommy One size does not fit all! New perspectives on the university in the social knowledge economy. Science and Public Policy. Geschwind, Lars Pinheiro, Romulo Raising the summit or flattening the agora? The elitist turn in science policy in Northern Europe.

Journal of Baltic Studies. Pinheiro, Romulo Benneworth, Paul Regional Roles of Higher Education. Regional Roles. Strategic Mergers in the Public Sector. Mergers and Acquisitions in Practice. Strategic agency and institutional change: investigating the role of universities in regional innovation systems RISs. Regional studies. European Educational Research Journal. A world full of mergers: The Nordic countries in a global context. Mergers in Higher Education. The Experience from Northern Europe.. Assessing change in higher education from the perspective of excellence versus relevance.

Pathways through higher education research: A festschrift in honour of Peter Maassen. Department of Education, University of Oslo. Chapter 6. Pinheiro, Romulo Berg, Laila Nordstrand Categorizing and assessing multi-campus universities in contemporary higher education. Tertiary Education and Management. External engagement and the academic heartland: The case of a regionally-embedded university. Berg, Laila Nordstrand Pinheiro, Romulo Pinheiro, Romulo Pillay, Pundy Higher education and economic development in the OECD: policy lessons for other countries and regions.

Journal of Higher Education Policy and Management. ISSN: X. Ramirez, Francisco O.

IHPI Seminar: Precision health, big data and evidence-based medicine – contradictions or companions?

Pinheiro, Romulo Byrkjeflot, Haldor Chapter 2. Humboldt meets Schumpeter? Mergers in higher education. European Journal of Higher Education. Network ties between universities and cultural and creative industries. Applied social science research in a regional knowledge system.

Pinheiro, Romulo Mathisen, Elisabeth Towards a novel conceptual framework for understanding mergers in higher education. Universities' external relations. IGI Global. Equity, institutional diversity and regional development: a cross-country comparison. International Journal of Public Administration. Springer Publishing Company. Institutionalization of technology transfer organizations in Chinese universities.

One and two equals three? The third mission of higher education institutions. The Role of Internal and External Stakeholders. When mergers fail: a case study on the critical role of external stakeholders in merger initiatives. Sense Publishers. Kapittel 7. Pinheiro, Romulo Hauge, Elisabeth S. City, Culture and Society. Cambridge Journal of Regions, Economy and Society. Pinheiro, Romulo Antonowicz, Dominik Opening the gates or coping with the flow? Higher Education and Research in Academe - Who should pay?. Chapter 5. Strategic actor-hood and internal transformation: The rise of the quadruple-helix university?.

Between and , he conducted numerous evaluations for international organisations such as the European Union youth and social policy, educational co-operation and culture USAID rule of law and judicial reform , GIZ youth employment policy. My research interests are non-formal learning process, how learners experience and make sense out of it, the professional development of youth workers and trainers in the youth field, and the emergence and development of non-hierarchical, non-structured NFE map.

I am a big fan of qualitative research methodology and recently started looking into the post-qualitative approaches that encourage to introduce more creativity, more philosophy, emergent methods, etc. I also work as expert, trainer and facilitator of learning in the field of youth and non-formal education at national and international levels.

Cristina Bacalso is an independent research consultant, with a specialisation in public policies for adolescent and youth development.

Using evidence to influence policy: Oxfam’s experience | Palgrave Communications

She has over 12 years of experience in policy, research, and advocacy, including 5 years as the Research Coordinator for Youth Policy Labs, a global think-tank specifically focusing on youth. Her experience includes providing evidence-based strategic and policy advice on adolescents and youth for UN agencies ex. She was the project lead for Youth Policy Fact Sheets, profiling countries and the current state of youth policies, youth rights, public institutions, civil society engagement, demographics, economic and legal contexts.

Ondrej Barta is a freelance youth researcher whose assignments on both national and international level span from volunteering, through youth projects within the EU programmes, to youth participation. He also conducts evaluation on both national and international levels, focusing mostly on the macro level youth policy , and on the micro level single project evaluation.

He has been long engaged within the RAY Research Network, and appears regularly on various research conferences where he tackles youth-related research findings. Patricia Loncle is professor of sociology. She works at the French school of public health which is located in Rennes.

Her main fields of research are: youth policies, sociology of youth, youth participation territorialisation of public policies, comparison of public policies. She supervises several thesis projects on youth sociology, education and youth policies. She has edited several books on youth. Dr Nuala Connolly is an experienced academic, lecturer and researcher in the fields of child, youth and family research.

Nuala is responsible for internal service evaluation and the coordination of external research nationally. Nuala has a wide range of experience in multi-method and multi-themed child, youth and family research, including longitudinal evaluation and field-based action research, informing policy and practice in the field of youth. This experience includes qualitative, quantitative and quasi-experimental methodologies, in addition to policy analysis, report-writing and peer-reviewed publication.

Nuala has co-edited a book as part of the Youth Knowledge series of the Youth Partnership. Nuala was a member of the editing team preparing the Declaration of the 2nd European Youth Work Convention, and the drafting group preparing a Recommendation for the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe on youth work. Areas of research interest and expertise: Civic and youth participation, Democratic governance; Social inclusion; Student mobility; Migration; Education policy evaluation and the Quality of higher education; Gender; Youth Cooperation.

He actively acts as higher education accreditation consultant.

In she was awarded an academic scholarship as visiting PhD candidate at the University of Vienna. Since she has been the Romanian national coordinator of the No Hate Speech Movement youth initiative of the Council of Europe, implemented in 45 countries. As a director of the Institute Marina managed several youth studies: The issues of youth employment in Armenia, Mapping of the youth NGOs, and Research on youth work and youth worker, Evaluation of the youth state policy strategy, youth employment and creative industries in Armenia.

Marina has solid experience in qualitative and quantitative research. She is engaged in practical and scientific studies for over 8 years. She authored over 30 research articles, reports, book chapters, and policy reports on youth policy, youth employment, inclusive education, civic education, child rights and higher education. I consider my work in the youth field as a combination of research, practice and legislation. I have expertise in drafting local legal acts and analytical reports e.

Annual National Report "On the situation of youth in the Republic of Belarus"; Strategies of the State Youth PolicyDevelopments in the Republic of Belarus up to ; Educational Standards of the Republic of Belarus in the specialty of retraining of executives and specialists with higher education, etc. I authored more than 80 academic, legislative and methodological publications reflecting the following interests: fostering youth employment; developing social inclusion of various minor youth groups; promoting evidence-based youth policy; realizing continuity and integrity of education; creating educational multicultural environment.

Ewa Krzaklewska is a sociologist and a researcher. She is affiliated to the Sociology Institute at Jagiellonian University in Krakow, Poland, where she teaches courses concerning methodology of the social research and data analysis. Her doctoral thesis focuses on the on the topic of entrance to adulthood in Poland. She has many academic publications, on topics such as entrance to adulthood, international mobility, youth issues and migration.

Ewa took part in several research projects, mostly concerning educational and youth issues such as ESNSurvey. Other studies she participated in concerned e. Sofia Laine is a university researcher at the University of Helsinki, Finland. Her multidisciplinary research has focused on young people, political engagements and democracy in multiple European and global settings. Her ongoing research focuses on the volunteering among the refugees. She is one of the three editors of the anthology that explores young refugees and youth work around the Europe will be published by the end of the year In he obtained a Ph.

His doctoral dissertation was based on a short-term longitudinal study on the interplay between the development of personal identity, romantic relationships, and psychological well-being during adolescence. During his post-graduate studies, he also took part in the design and coordination of two large scale longitudinal studies, as well as on one country-wide cross-sectional study on immigrant youth adaptation in Greece. His main research interests revolve around adolescent development and adaptation. Currently he works as a Ph. During his studies, he has gained strong statistical skills in analyzing longitudinal data, applying longitudinal models in R, AMOS, and Mplus.

He holds a PhD in sociology and received a Fulbright grant His research focuses on theoretical approaches in youth studies, life trajectories, youth cultures, education and youth work. He has been involved — as participant and coordinator — in researches and projects at local, national and European level.