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of technology prototypes, both industry and social scientists might benefit from routine inclusion of performance assessment or evaluation up front.

4.3 Making The Results Of Interdisciplinary
Research More Accessible

Workshop participants expressed a belief in the need for more effective communication of the results of interdisciplinary social science research on computing and communications issues to both the public and policy makers.

Availability of an online guide to current, relevant research. It was noted that a perceived disconnect between research results and critical legal and policy decision making is perhaps due in part to the dispersed nature of relevant interdisciplinary research. One suggested approach to improving access to pertinent results was to have an online resource (e.g., a Web page) containing headlines and abstracts of policy-relevant social science research, along with pointers to the print and/or online published results. Such a site could also contain regularly updated literature reviews summarizing the state of the art in various areas, as well as directories of specialists in particular areas. With some effort, such a resource could serve as a medium for communication not only among researchers but also with individuals in the policy and business worlds. The bibliography prepared as part of this report could become part of such a resource. An electronic newsletter providing regular updates on research findings would also be useful.

Supplemental ways of disseminating research results. Some at the workshop also pointed out that research results need to be presented in ways that are most useful to policy makers—in some cases written materials alone may not suffice. Interdisciplinary researchers might seek out and take advantage of opportunities to provide testimony at hearings; professional societies might organize specialized briefings for policy makers.


1. A research program jointly sponsored by the National Science Foundation, Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, National Library of Medicine, Library of Congress, National Aeronautics and Space Administration, and National Endowment for the Humanities.

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