Policy research: The field dimension

Lawrence M. Mead

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


    Field research, defined as an unstructured contact with public problems and programs, is essential to realistic policy research. Research linking governmental action to good outcomes is rare, because those who study government and those whose who analyze public problems are seldom the same. Field inquiry can help give policy research more governmental content. A lack of field contact is one reason why much of the research surrounding welfare reform has been incorrect. Ideally, the connections between policy and outcomes that respondents claim during field research should be verified by statistical analyses that use program data. Unfortunately field research is discouraged by academic incentives favoring rigor at the expense of realism.

    Original languageEnglish (US)
    Pages (from-to)535-557
    Number of pages23
    JournalPolicy Studies Journal
    Issue number4
    StatePublished - Nov 2005

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • Sociology and Political Science
    • Public Administration
    • Management, Monitoring, Policy and Law


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