A narrative policy approach to environmental conservation

Ambio. 2014 Nov;43(7):849-57. doi: 10.1007/s13280-014-0497-8. Epub 2014 Mar 14.


Due to the urgency and seriousness of the loss of biological diversity, scientists from across a range of disciplines are urged to increase the salience and use of their research by policy-makers. Increased policy nuance is needed to address the science-policy gap and overcome divergent views of separate research and policy worlds, a view still relatively common among conservation scientists. Research impact considerations should recognize that policy uptake is dependent on contextual variables operating in the policy sphere. We provide a novel adaptation of existing policy approaches to evidence impact that accounts for non-evidentiary "societal" influences on decision-making. We highlight recent analytical tools from political science that account for the use of evidence by policy-makers. Using the United Kingdom's recent embrace of the ecosystem approach to environmental management, we advocate analyzing evidence research impact through a narrative lens that accounts for the credibility, legitimacy, and relevance of science for policy.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Conservation of Natural Resources / methods*
  • Models, Theoretical
  • Public Policy*
  • Research