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Publication Detail
Translating research into practice: lessons from a report to the Australian Greenhouse Office
  • Publication Type:
  • Authors:
    Shipworth M
  • Publication date:
  • Name of conference:
    EPUK4 - 4th Environmental Psychology in the UK Conference: Putting research into practice
  • Conference place:
    Department of Architecture, University of Strathclyde, Glasgow
  • Conference start date:
  • Conference finish date:
  • Keywords:
    home energy use sociology evidence based policy policy Australia
A case study of the successful translation of environmental psychology research into policy and practice is presented. The paper examines why a report summarising academic research became a key reference in the development of policies and programs to reduce greenhouse emissions in Australia. In April 2000 I completed 'Motivating Home Energy Action: A handbook of what works' for the Australian Greenhouse Office. The handbook synthesized and translated existing social psychology, sociology and demand side management research into a form useful for policy makers and program managers. The Australian Greenhouse Office used the report to structure their 'Cool Communities' program and advise community program managers on effective program options. Five years after its completion, the handbook remains a key reference in the subsequent 'Local Greenhouse Action' program. Drawing on the literature on the research-practice link and highlighting key aspects of the development of the report, I analyse why the report was influential in developing policies and programs. Literatures covered are ‘Evidence Based Policy’, ‘Interactive Research’, ‘Policy Change’ and papers by scholars exploring the environmental research-action interface. Key insights from this literature include: don’t expect instant effects; ensure recommendations are clear; ensure recommendations are non-controversial and suit their context; ensure recommendations use practitioners’ language and frameworks of understanding; involve practitioners in the research and develop close links between researchers and practitioners. The paper uses this literature to identify those factors that contributed to my report successfully translating research into practice.
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