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Social Learning: A Model for Policy Research

J Friedmann and George Abonyi ()
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J Friedmann: Urban Planning Program, School of Architecture and Urban Planning, University of California at Los Angeles, Los Angeles, California 90024, USA, and Centre for Environmental Studies, 62-65 Chandos Place, London WC2N 4HH, England

Environment and Planning A, 1976, vol. 8, issue 8, 927-940

Abstract: This paper examines the question “Why are the results of policy research not used more widely than they appear to be?†The fault is seen to lie in the incompatibility of social contexts for research—the separate and clashing worlds of government and academia. A social practice model of experimental learning is proposed as an alternative to current research styles. The difficulty remains, however, how to apply successfully the results of learning obtained in one experiment to other situations, and how new learning can be made more generally effective. Conditions for resolving this problem are identified as (1) a commitment on the part of the policymaking institution to the idea of social experimentation, practice, and learning as the principal methods for public intervention; (2) the formation of central services in support of local experiments; and (3) expansion of lateral channels of communication for the diffusion of new experiences and learning among the multiple experiments themselves.

Date: 1976
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