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Historian case studies launched

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Three new case studies highlight the benefits historians have gained from engaging with policy makers, at a time when academics are under increasing pressure to demonstrate the relevance and impact of their work. More case studies will be rolled out in the coming months.

The case studies provide examples of best practice by historians and policy makers and showcase a wide range of H&P activities and impacts.

They describe some of the different ways that history can help policy makers deal with current issues: such as providing historical background and context, learning lessons from historical precedents, and improving the quality of debate.

They also offer insights into why many civil servants welcome input from historians and want to learn from what happened in the past.

Researched and written by Dr Christopher Knowles, Visiting Research Associate at the ICBH, the case studies followed a review of H&P’s evaluation of its events for civil servants in government. H&P has organised seminar series in Whitehall since 2010. 

AHRC guidance on planning and demonstrating effective policy engagement (July 2013) states that the ‘assessment of the (likely) effectiveness of policy engagement lends itself most readily to a narrative structure.’ Dr Knowles’ review concluded that case studies can provide an effective means of evaluation, in addition to providing examples of good practice, and offering guidance to historians on the different ways in which a greater understanding of history can contribute to better policy making.

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H&P is based at the Institute of Historical Research, Senate House, University of London.

We are the only project in the UK providing access to an international network of more than 500 historians with a broad range of expertise. H&P offers a range of resources for historians, policy makers and journalists.

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