Deliberation, Dialogue and Debate: Why Researchers need to Engage with Others to Address Complex Issues
As societies have become more differentiated, policy issues are increasingly being analysed using concepts and ideas from the complexity sciences. Policy change involving diverse stakeholders interacting with one another in ways that are shaped by power and politics are increasingly characterised by contestation and unpredictability. Stakeholders other than researchers are collecting information and producing their own knowledge to add new perspectives to those of, and contest the power given to, researchers and their advice. Against this backdrop, I argue that traditional approaches to communicating research to policymakers are inadequate. Researchers now share the field of knowledge production and communication with many others, and where appropriate, those who view their role in relation to policy, should be prepared to engage with stakeholders affected by policy issues and expose their findings to human interaction, review and scrutiny by others.