Impact evaluation, professional practice and policy making.
Johnson, Ian M.
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This paper examines the relationship between research into the evaluation of the impact of library and information services, policy making in the field, and professional practice and education. The paper first summarises the background to a recent critical literature review undertaken on behalf of Resource: the Council on Museums, Archives and Libraries. The review was intended to identify any published evidence that Museums, Archives and Libraries are making a contributory impact to developments in the British Government’s key policy areas. Except in the field of learning, little supporting evidence was found. Methodological weakness undermined the validity of much of the related work identified by the review. After considering approaches to ensuring the impact of research on policy making, including a more appropriate publication strategy and greater face-to-face dialogue, the paper discusses the attitudes of LIS practitioners towards academic research and the need for closer collaboration. Finally the paper speculates on some of the implications for LIS educators in developing future researchers better equipped to identify the contribution that libraries make, and more effective in influencing policy makers.