Often, researchers assume that disseminating findings to policymakers is straightforward and that policymakers have the best interests of the researched communities at heart. However, this is not necessarily the case in reality. It is useful to remember that while an organisation’s principles and objectives can influence attitudes and commitments, policymakers are individuals with multidimensional identities, which are shaped by their social contexts. They are not immune to societies’ prejudices. Policymakers can replicate and entrench values that are inimical to those their organisations formally endorse. ‘Bringing the reality to policymakers’ is rarely a facile and predictable enterprise; instead, it requires that researchers seek to understand policymakers’ social contexts and perspectives, the power dynamics within organisations, and among policymakers and the individuals and communities they are meant to serve.
IDS Bulletin (2009) 40 (3) 105-106 [DOI: 10.1111/j.1759-5436.2009.00048.x]