Policy Relevant Scholarship? The Value of Creating, Framing and Storytelling
Once upon a time, academia and practice were joined at the hip, but as years went by, a yawning gap began dividing the two worlds. Today, while occasions of contact between academia and practice exist, they remain mainly ad hoc and superficial. To bridge the gap between academia and practice, many have called for policy relevant scholarship. But this misses the point: academics are and should continue to be academics, much like practitioners are and should continue to be practitioners. It is not up to the academic to come up with detailed policy proposals. They often lack the technical expertise, the bureaucratic experience or political instinct to know the specific what, when and how needed. Yet the academics’ contribution to policy-making can be immense if they continue to be academics: using their unique skill set but with an eye for the concepts, the framing and the story-telling that are so essential to good policy-making.