Presented as part of a panel discussion chaired by Bill Trochim called Gap or Trap? Rethinking Evaluation’s Response to Evidence-Based Programs and the Research-Practice Gap.
The evidence-based program (EBP) and translational research (TR) movements are intended to “bridge the research-practice gap” and focus resources on doing “what works” in the “era of accountability.” Both of these movements contain, and rely on, a number of often unspoken assumptions about the nature of evidence, knowledge, and social action, putting the hierarchical division between “scientific” and “everyday” ways of knowing into sharp relief. Contrary to many dominant accounts, the work people do with EBPs and TR is not politically neutral, unbiased work focused on instrumental, technical problems; rather, it is implicated in contemporary (and contentious) transformations of social programs and social life. This paper problematizes the epistemological, ontological, and praxeological assumptions of EBPs and TR, rethinks the “research-practice gap,” and synthesizes salient theoretical perspectives on these questions in an attempt to promote more equitable and effective responses to the problems which EBPs and TR are purported to solve. #Collaborative,ParticipatoryandEmpowermentEval #MixedMethodsEvaluation #ontologicalpolitics #epistemicjustice #ResearchonEvaluation #2012Conference #researchpracticegap #randomizedcontrolledtrials #FeministIssuesinEvaluation #TheoriesofEvaluation #evidencebasedprograms