Contextual Response Analyses (CRA s) are extensive assessment reports on audiences and stakeholders. Many of these have been commissioned by public research institutes, such as Health Council of the Netherlands, ZonMw (The Netherlands Organisation for Health Research and Development), The Netherlands Institute for Social Research SCP, CPB Netherlands Bureau for Economic Policy Analysis and PBL, Netherlands Environmental Assessment Agency.
The analysis of the response is about “how many or much” response can be found, but involves specifically the response in various domains, and aims to answer questions of “how” and “by whom”:
- Politics: in-depth text-analyses of Parliamentary documents show how MPs and ministers react on reports of research institutes. How often is the report mentioned, and by whom? What has been said in Parliamentary Meetings: is the response critical? How are outcomes used for the advancement of a political statement?
- Media: which newspapers, magazines or other printed media use the reports? Do they react on the full report or just on press releases? Is the reception critical? Which journalists react?
- Societal response: which organizations or persons react on publications? These may be local or regional authorities, schools, organizations in health care industries, cultural organizations, influential bloggers? Which publications are involved, and how are these used?
- Science: are publications mentioned in scientific literature?
The formal task of public research institutes is to inform government and politics, but very often their reports draw considerable attention in public opinion and among professionals. Searching for societal response I may find hundreds of societal users or stakeholders, in commercial, (semi-)public and personal domains in very diverse sectors. Each of these research institutes appear to have gathered a specific audience, often to the surprise of the institutes much larger than previously experienced.
Examples of numbers of users in specific sectors (figure).
You can read about Contextual Response Analysis in my publications. The approach will be developed further in the collaboration with CWTS on Evaluative Inquiries.