Social Research and Development of Limited Use to National Policymakers

HRD-77-34: Published: Apr 4, 1977. Publicly Released: Apr 4, 1977.

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Federally-supported social research and development (R&D) includes projects directed toward improving the well-being of people and programs in the areas of: education, staffing, health, income security, social services, housing and community development, civil rights, transportation, and crime. Social R&D projects are intended to provide knowledge for policymakers in developing national social policies.

Federal R&D is generally authorized in broad subject areas to serve State and local government agencies and is of limited use to national policymakers. Social R&D agency planning is fragmented and decentralized and permits agencies wide latitude. Guidance for monitoring social R&D is vague or nonexistent, and the dissemination of social R&D results has been relatively ineffective and uncoordinated. Such factors as the inaccessibility of information has made use of social R&D results difficult. Officials in policymaking positions in 10 Federal agencies and departments expressed dissatisfaction with Federal management in the planning and monitoring of social R&D and in the dissemination and use of results.

Recommendation for Executive Action

  1. Status: Closed

    Comments: Please call 202/512-6100 for additional information.

    Recommendation: The Office of Science and Technology Policy and the Office of Management and Budget should work together to: develop and test alternative systems to obtain the information needs of national policymakers; require that such a system be augmented by procedures for informing policymakers of the type and relevancy of the information available; develop formal mechanisms for encouraging cooperative efforts between agencies; and evaluate the methods used by each agency to manage social R&D.

    Agency Affected:


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