Policy Research: Lessons from the Field

Joanne W. Rains, Ellen J. Hahn

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Abstract Nursing's involvement in policy development has become a standard and expected part of nursing practice. One avenue of involvement, policy research, is clarified through description and case example. Policy research is described as context‐driven, multimethodological, and time‐sensitive. Considering these essential characteristics when planning and implementing policy research enhances nursing's ability to positively influence the policy process. A case example of policy research from the criminal justice system evaluated the effectiveness of a diversion program with alcohol and marijuana misdemeanants (N = 1,239). The purposes of the study were to describe the percentage of diversion participants with alcohol or marijuana‐possession charges who were successful in completing the diversion program and to examine the incidence of subsequent arrests on alcohol or marijuana‐possession charges among those who successfully completed the program. The case example demonstrates the intricate and unique relationship between research and the policy arena. Policy research can equip nursing to enter policy debates with data and to participate as a persuasive agent of social change.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)72-77
Number of pages6
JournalPublic Health Nursing
Issue number2
StatePublished - Apr 1995

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Nursing
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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