New Sax service to help policy agencies take their research temperature
Sax Institute Director of Knowledge Exchange Ms Sian Rudge and Director of CIPHER, Dr Anna Williamson

The Sax Institute has launched Research Checkup – an innovative new service that helps decision makers diagnose how they use evidence from research in their work.

Research Checkup measures the systems that policy and program agencies have in place to find and use research, the ways that their staff use research and how they actually incorporate research into their work.

It then provides this information back to agencies to help them evaluate their ‘research health’, and identify what they might best do to support and encourage their staff to use evidence.

Examining research use

“This is the only service we know of in Australia that helps policy makers forensically examine their research use,” Head of the Sax Institute’s Knowledge Exchange Division, Ms Sian Rudge, said.

“Research Checkup helps identify where investment in training, systems development or other programs may be of most use in terms of using research.

“We know that policy agencies are different from each other and that a one-size-fits-all program won’t work, so Research Checkup helps agencies decide on the kinds of strategies that will work best for them and the way that they want to use evidence.”

The Institute has tested the measures that have been adapted for Research Checkup in six policy agencies.

“We already believe from our current work with agencies that this approach is going to add value and we are really pleased to be able to add this new service to our existing offerings in evaluation and rapid research reviews,” Ms Rudge said.

The Cancer Institute’s Planning and Evaluation Coordinator of the NSW Cancer Plan, Dr Cynthia Lean, said the Institute had appreciated the opportunity to be involved with testing new ways of measuring research use.

“This was a fantastic process in that it allowed us to measure ourselves and reflect on how we do our business,” she said.

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