Research on policy processes has emerged over the last 30-40 years in Northern contexts. Such research has expanded into Southern contexts. An interest in the use of 'evidence' (such as research) in policy processes is a relatively recent phenomenon. There are, to date, relatively few empirical case studies in developing countries. This article seeks to address this gap by providing a comparative case study of two contexts at the opposite ends of the macro-political spectrum: Andhra Pradesh, India - a free participatory democracy with vibrant civil society - and Viet Nam - a society with, historically, more limited political freedom but with some recently introduced participatory processes and a fledgling civil society. We also consider the 'international' policy-making context. Senior policy makers and researchers working in child health policy formation were asked about their perceptions of the use of and quality of 'evidence' in health policy processes. It has been argued that greater levels of democratic freedoms are associated with greater use of evidence in policy processes. Our research challenges this and explores perceptions of the nature of 'evidence' and its use in policy processes.
European Journal of Development Research (2008) 20 (4) 712-732 [DOI: 10.1080/09578810802493358]