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The Politics of Evidence-Based Policy-Making: The Case of Denmark

GPS, Vol. 6 No. 2, (2010)

The paper presents how research evidence in the form of systematic reviews was established in Denmark in the fields of medicine, social affairs and education. Based on a research project, the institutionalization of the idea of evidence-based policy and practice through the establishment of evidence producing organizations, such as The Campbell Collaboration, i.e. the so-called evidence movement is described and analyzed.
The evidence movement is an international affair, but in this paper the focus is on the Danish branch of the movement and on the political aspects related to this. Three questions are addressed: 1) Why and how has the evidence movement become institutionalized? 2) How is it organised and how does it practice? 3) Which are the political dimensions and conflicts related to this development?
The paper is divided in two parts. The first part is empirical. It holds an analysis of how the idea of evidence-based policy and practice has travelled into Denmark, how the idea has been institutionalised in organisations specialized in producing evidence-based knowledge and how these organisations practice.
The second part of the paper is reflective. It holds a discussion of the political dimensions and the political context of the development of the evidence movement including a discussion on the conceptual dispute, the methodological conflicts and the roles of different actors engaged in the arena of evidence politics

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