This work aims to evaluate the Research-to-Policy Collaboration (RPC) model, an approach for improving the use of evidence in legislative policymaking. Prominent barriers to congressional offices’ use of research evidence involve a lack of researcher-policymaker contact and capacity to write evidence-based legislation. The RPC model seeks to address these barriers through a structured process for identifying policymakers’ priorities in youth-focused areas, building capacity for researchers to respond to current policy priorities, facilitating productive researcher-policymaker interactions, and incorporating research evidence into legislative language.
Specifically, we seek to test the RPC’s effectiveness through experimental design (randomization) using qualitative and quantitative assessments of research-policymaker interactions and impact. This includes collection of survey data from congressional staff and researchers, record review of policymakers’ public statements and introduced legislative language, and qualitative interviews about researcher and congressional office experience from taking part in the RPC.
This work will provide unique insights about a theory-driven strategy for increasing federal legislators’ use of evidence through interactive discourse, legislative language, and public statements, which may expand the way policymakers think about child and family issues, rationalize specific policy solutions, or create data-driven structures that guide federal investments. A particular opportunity of this work is its potential to provide unique insights into promising strategies for increasing the use of evidence in federal legislative contexts.