The 131st Annual Meeting (November 15-19, 2003) of APHA

The 131st Annual Meeting (November 15-19, 2003) of APHA

4049.0: Tuesday, November 18, 2003 - 8:30 AM

Abstract #64461

From research to policy..not! Perceptions of German aging researchers regarding applicability and dissemination of their work

Katherine H. Leith, LMSW, MPH, Arnold School of Public Health, University of South Carolina, Sumter Street, Columbia, SC 29208, (803)777-5620,

Purpose – The literature suggest that dissemination of research into policy remains slow and haphazard. The “research to practice gap” is well-documented and appears to be international. This qualitative project explored the perceptions of German aging researchers’ about the applicability of their work and about their experiences with the translation of their work into policy and practice. Methods – Qualitative interviews were conducted with seven German aging researchers. They answered eight open-ended questions, designed to elicit their opinions about the practical applicability of their work and about the effectiveness of their interactions with German government policymakers. They were also asked to describe barriers to and suggest strategies for consistent dissemination of aging research into policy. Responses were analyzed through in-depth qualitative content analysis, using the software NVivo. Results – Three common themes emerged: (1) the aging concept, always existing at a fundamental level, has become highly complex and diversified; (2) aging research, although striving to capture aging’s diverse nature, has evolved into narrow areas of investigation; and (3) the research-to-practice gap, although fluctuating in "width," has evolved into a serious divide between academicians and politicians. Implications – Despite persistent difficulties these researchers encounter with policymakers, they agree that aging research occasionally does make valuable contributions to policy development. To bridge this gap in Germany, it may be necessary to (1) become more sensitive to, and comfortable with, the dynamics controlling conduct of research; and (2) expand the research agenda globally to encourage international exchange of ideas and strategies.

Learning Objectives:

Keywords: Research, Policy/Policy Development

Presenting author's disclosure statement:
I do not have any significant financial interest/arrangement or affiliation with any organization/institution whose products or services are being discussed in this session.

Replication, scale, research, and policy

The 131st Annual Meeting (November 15-19, 2003) of APHA