The Value of Research in Social Policy

The Value of Research in Social Policy

While research can be interesting in regards to understanding social phenomena, it is also important that research results be used to positively impact positive outcomes in regards to the individuals involved, the societal problems considered, and the programs and policy related to these issues. This discussion presents a real world application of data and will help you understand the value of data on social policy outcomes.

Please watch Crime spotting: Joy of Stats (1/6) (link and reference at the bottom) and address the following:

1.How does the City of San Francisco currently use its crime data?
2.How could the data be used by citizens to influence policy? Provide at least two community advocacy and societal change ideas. Explain them and how they would help citizens.
3.How could the data be used by the police service? Provide at least two forms of community outreach, policing policy, or program creation, and explain how they would help the police and the citizenry.
4.How could the data be used by social researchers? What does the data tell them about crime in San Francisco?
5.Are there wider applications for the data to support policy makers in San Francisco? Explain how.
6.How has this example changed your thoughts about the use of research and data to support policy? 7.Can you provide another way research could be used to support policy creation or change?

The Value of Social Policy Research
As a final point in this course, it is important to bring you full circle as to why research occurs in the first place – to find answers to societal issues and understand social phenomena. It is through research that you will find out important information about the issues that affect your job or community every day. So not only have you learned a valuable skill that allows you to research and critique society and phenomena, but you have also gained a valuable tool which is used to find solutions and influence change in policy on an organizational, local community, and national scale. So this last part of the course asks you to reflect on how research can be applied to societal problems, influence programs to support the issues involved, and thus support positive solutions which impact society and policy favorably.

Learn on YouTube. (2011, February 2). Crime spotting: The joy of stats (1/6) [Video file]. Retrieved from

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