"Shielding" the knowledge transfer process in human service research

Gretchen L. Gano, Jocelyn Elise Crowley, David Guston

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

19 Scopus citations


Knowledge utilization studies aim to understand the pathways whereby research moves from a specific set of producers to a specific set of consumers. Broadly speaking, two sets of explanations exist: (1) the engineering model, which focuses on the inevitability of science in advancing knowledge, and (2) the socio-organizational model, which stresses the importance of communication between and among groups as the critical factor in promoting utilization. This study asks both research managers at the Department of Health and Human Services and representatives from a particular set of consumer organizations to elaborate on the qualities of the research process that make knowledge most useful to them. We find that the qualities valued in both communities signal convergence around a novel third approach - the shield model - in which aspects of the original two models reinforce a powerful professional norm of objectivity that shelters the knowledge production and transmission process from external political pressures.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)39-60
Number of pages22
JournalJournal of Public Administration Research and Theory
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2007

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Public Administration
  • Marketing


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