The field of social science utilization is one that would greatly benefit from additional research. “We know little about the factors that induce professionals and managers in government agencies to use university research in their professional activities” (Landry et al., 2003). The question of how social science is used in government decision making should not simply be an academic pursuit; government agencies’ use or nonuse of social science information has significant impacts on the lives of citizens as officials make decisions and create policies. This is only one reason why social science research on science utilization can contribute to better environmental decision making.



For instance, the search did not include variants of the phrase “evidence-based decision making.”


For additional information see the National Park Service web site: HtmlResAnchor (last visited June 2004).


Boggs, J.P. 1990 The use of anthropological knowledge under NEPA. Human Organization 49(3):217-226.


• Literature review and analysis

• Use and influence of social science under the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) was examined

• Decision makers were at the federal level

• Conclusions: The study found that social science fails to produce results in the form of generalized principles that can be applied to particular cases. Practitioners need closer, more effective open links with basic social sciences.

• Recommendation: The author suggested the development of a professional role for social science under NEPA that is grounded in the basic social sciences.

Caplan, N. 1976 Social research and national policy: What gets used, by whom, for what purposes, and with what effects? International Social Science Journal 28(1):187-194.


• 204 face-to-face, recorded interviews (dataset from Caplan et al., 1975, report)

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