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China research and analysis - Feb22 - Banner

Producing policy-relevant China research and analysis in an era of strategic competition

By Samantha Hoffman

This brief report explores the challenge of producing policy-relevant China research and analysis. Policy-relevant research is defined as work that drives action, affects decision-making, or both. It’s the kind of research think tanks seek to do, bridging the gap between academia and civil servants who work on policy.

This paper focuses on two key findings:

  1. There’s a distinction between conducting policy-relevant research and the process of disseminating it in a way that will effectively shape and influence the policy process in particular places by particular policy- and decision-makers. In practice, the difference between the two isn’t always clearly understood and perhaps not clearly taught.
  2. There’s limited training that prepares the China analytical community to deal with the challenges of producing policy-relevant research under conditions of restricted access to China. Researchers require more support in navigating the research environment and filling skill-set gaps.