Evidence & Policy Call for Papers – Special Issue on Learning through Comparison – Evidence & Policy Blog

Special Issue Editors: Katherine Smith, Valerie Pattyn and Niklas Andersen

Evidence & Policy is pleased to invite abstracts for papers that explicitly employ comparative analysis and/or that develop insights about evidence use in policy through comparison. Authors of selected abstracts will be invited to submit a full paper for consideration for inclusion in a special issue that is aiming to demonstrate the conceptual and empirical contribution that comparative research can offer scholarship on evidence and policy.

The question of how to achieve more evidence-informed policymaking has been a core question driving scholarship on evidence use in policy for many years, with a bourgeoning literature seeking to explain policymaking processes to researchers and to identify methods and mechanisms for increasing evidence use within these processes (Oliver et al, 2014). While this literature has certainly furthered our understanding of the complexity of the research-policymaking nexus, a lack of comparative analysis within this area of scholarship (Smith et al, 2019; Andersen and Smith, 2022) means we have only limited insights into how and why efforts to improve the use of evidence in policy play out differently in contrasting geo-political and institutional contexts.

The need for comparative research in this area of scholarship, and the over-dependence on single case studies, has been repeatedly highlighted in editorials in this journal (e.g. Nutley et al, 2010; Smith et al, 2019) and we hope this special issue, and the surrounding activities (e.g. blogs, Twitter/X threads and conference discussions) will go some way to addressing this gap. We are interested in receiving submissions that offer one or more of the following:

  • Empirical comparisons of case studies of evidence use in policy settings. Such comparisons may be between different national settings, across distinct institutional settings, or in distinct policy areas (e.g. health compared to economic policy).
  • Comparatively analyse how some of the key disciplines involved in studies of evidence use in policy conceptualise and explain evidence use (or, indeed, a lack of evidence use) in policy.
  • Offer a relevant Debate paper on the topic of learning through comparison in scholarship concerned with evidence and policy.

Deadline: Interested authors should send a 300 word abstract to Special Issue Editor Prof Kat Smith ([email protected]) by 31 March 2024. Invitations for full paper submissions will be sent in early April, and full papers will be due by 30 June 2024.


Andersen, N. A., & Smith, K.E. (2022). Evidence-Based Policy-Making. In B. Greve (Ed.), De Gruyter Handbook of Contemporary Welfare States (1 ed., Vol. 1, pp. 29-44). De Gruyter. De Gruyter Contemporary Social Sciences Handbook Vol. 1 https://doi.org/10.1515/9783110721768-003

Nutley, S., Morton, S., Jung, T., & Boaz, A. (2010). Editorial. Evidence & Policy6(2), 131-144. Retrieved Oct 1, 2023, from https://doi.org/10.1332/174426410X502275

Oliver, K., Innvar, S., Lorenc, T. et al. A systematic review of barriers to and facilitators of the use of evidence by policymakers. BMC Health Serv Res 14, 2 (2014).

Smith, K.E., Pearson, M., Allen, W., Barwick, M., Farrell, C., Hardy, M., Harvey, H., Kothari, A., Neal, Z. and Pellini, A. (2019)  Building and diversifying our interdisciplinary giants: moving scholarship on evidence and policy forward, Evidence & Policy, 15(4): 455–60.

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