‘Evidence in action’, Canada – sources on evidence based policymaking in parliaments

This is one in a series of posts on sources on evidence based policymaking in parliaments

Evidence in Action – an analysis of information gathering and use by Canadian parliamentarians’ Kimberly Girling, Research and Policy Director, Evidence for Democracy and Katie Gibbs, Executive Director, Evidence for Democracy. November 2019

This substantial report on the use of evidence by Members in Canada is the product of a campaigning organisation which describes itself as

“the leading fact-driven, non-partisan, not-for-profit organization promoting the transparent use of evidence in government decision-making in Canada. Through research, education and issue campaigns, Evidence for Democracy engages and empowers the science community while cultivating public and political demand for evidence-based decision-making”

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Emma Crewe – sources on evidence based policymaking in parliaments

This is the first in a series of posts on sources used for a presentation on evidence based policymaking in parliaments

“politicians will necessarily be in the business of making political judgements rather than merely rational assessments”

p. 209, Crewe, 2015

Emma Crewe’s ‘House of Commons: an Anthropology of MPs at Work’ (2015) is an account of how UK Members work, based on anthropological observation. It provides insight into how Members actually use information and make decisions – academic study that appeared almost completely absent ten years ago when I researched ‘Members use of information’. Crewe does not directly address parliamentary library/research service issues (neither term is indexed) but she does make some very relevant observations on ‘evidence’ and how Members in the UK parliament use it.

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Members’ use of information and the myths of parliamentary library and research services

‘Members Use of Information and Changing Visions of the Parliamentary Library’ Library trends 58(4) Spring 2010: 434-458

This article caused quite a stir in its original form as a conference paper/presentation at IFLA in Milan in 2009. Previews had prompted quite strong attacks from some colleagues in other parliaments, but the wider view of the IFLAPARL Section (the global body of parliamentary library & research services) was very positive. They nominated it as the paper of the Conference, and as such it was one of a few selected by IFLA for publication in the IFLA Journal shortly after.

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Evidence-based Policymaking in parliaments and the UN Sustainable Development Goals



The delivery of evidence for Members’ work on policy is arguably the core function of parliamentary library & research services. This puts the services at the heart of current work on ‘Evidence-Based Policymaking’ (EBPM). That work also offers insights into what parliamentary library & research services can expect to achieve and how they might achieve it. Only in Africa, so far, does it appear that services have actively adopted EBPM as an organising framework. What have they gained from it and what can the rest of the world learn?

The delivery of evidence for policy is just one aspect of how parliamentary library & research services are contributing to the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), notably SDG16 on good governance. What is the significance of this contribution?

The download is a presentation from December 2019, a work in progress towards a future paper. EBPM will be a theme at the IFLAPARL conference in 2020 and the work of the African services will, I hope, be presented directly by representatives from the continent.