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Use of research evidence in legislatures: a systematic review


Abstract Background: Although lawmakers play an essential role in policymaking, there is no systematic review on the use of research evidence in legislatures. Aims and objectives: To examine types of research use and factors facilitating and hindering use in legislatures. Methods: We conducted a systematic review of studies in legislatures, regardless of geographical region or year of publication. We included empirical studies irrespective of the methodology employed. Thematic synthesis was used to synthesise the type of use and the facilitating and hindering factors to using research evidence in parliaments. We included 21 studies. Findings: The most frequently observed type of utilisation was the use for symbolic or tactical purposes. Forms of use specific to legislatures were also identified, such as to prepare questions and debates and to help build consensus. Four categories of factors seen as facilitators or barriers were found: institution and organisation, research characteristics, policy and political context, and individual characteristics. Some factors had already been identified in previous reviews, while others seem to apply exclusively to legislatures. Discussion and conclusions: The review identified types of use of research evidence observed in legislatures and developed a new categorisation of factors that may promote or hinder evidence use in this institutional setting. It highlighted a need for more research beyond the US, in unicameral legislatures and in countries with a parliamentary form of government. Content analysis of parliamentary debates in legislative assembly or committee to examine the use of research evidence seems to be underused.


Ouimet, M., Beaumier, M., Cloutier, A., Côté, A., Montigny, É., Gélineau, F., Jacob, S. et Ratté, S. (2023). Use of research evidence in legislatures: a systematic review. Evidence & Policy, 1-18.

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M. Beaumier
A. Cloutier
A. Côté
É. Montigny
F. Gélineau
S. Jacob
S. Ratté