Measuring The Use of Knowledge in Policy Development

Antje Witting


Public hearings are frequently used on all levels of government to systematically collect and analyze information in the early stages of legislative policymaking. The methods currently employed measure knowledge utilization in this context by means of citation analysis of edited articles and/or reports that summarize the information shared at these meetings. By combining citation analysis and social network analysis, this article develops a methodology that can be used to capture citations in transcripts of public hearings that precede these reports. In order to demonstrate its strengths and weaknesses, the method is utilized to analyze the 2009 hearings that informed the 2010 House of Commons Transport Committee report on developing the capacity of major roads in the United Kingdom to meet the country’s strategic transport needs. The research shows a good degree of consistency between two independent coders who employed this method to distinguish citations from non-citations and classify the data. It is concluded that the method can be utilized to reliably measure knowledge utilization at public hearings, and that it can be employed in conjunction with research that focuses on measuring citations in memos, briefings, articles or reports integrating some of the evidence given at these meetings.


Knowledge utilization; content analysis; citation analysis; policy analysis

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ISSN 1802-4866 | Charles University in Prague, Faculty of Social Sciences | Creative Commons Attribution 3.0.