The census as an information source in public policy-making
Deakin, M. (2016). The census as an information source in public policy-making. Journal of Information Science, 42, (3), 386-395.
* The PDF of the accepted version of this paper is also available from the Edinburgh Napier repository at http://researchrepository.napier.ac.uk/9156/1/HallJIS-3436-accepted-census-policy-making.pdf
* The published version is available via Sage (subscription access) at http://jis.sagepub.com/content/42/3/386.abstract
* The slides for the conference paper from which this article is developed are available at http://www.slideshare.net/HazelHall/census-policy-informationpractices-49870121
This paper provides an assessment of the value of national population censuses as information sources with specific reference to UK census data and its use in policy-making. Mixed methods were adopted to collect quantitative and qualitative data from two sources: (1) a content analysis of policy documents, and (2) interviews with policy-makers in Scotland. The findings highlight that although the general value of the census is recognised, policy-makers are not necessarily closely engaged with the census as a tool for directing the development and implementation of policy. This is evident, for example in a lack of awareness of proposed changes to the census, and infrequent deployment of available data. The opportunity to change perceptions among policy-makers, and to expand the application of census data in public policy, is identified. With a novel focus on the deployment of censuses as sources of evidence for policy-making that includes the views of policy-makers from both within and beyond government, this work contributes to an established body of global research on international censuses.
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