Applying design science in public policy and administration research

A Georges L Romme (Corresponding author), Albert Meijer (Corresponding author)

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

13 Citations (Scopus)
627 Downloads (Pure)


There is increasing debate about the role that public policy research can play in identifying solutions to complex policy challenges. Most studies focus on describing and explaining how governance systems operate. However, some scholars argue that because current institutions are often not up to the task, researchers need to rethink this ‘bystander’ approach and engage in experimentation and interventions that can help to change and improve governance systems. This paper contributes to this discourse by developing a design science framework that integrates retrospective research (scientific validation) and prospective research (creative design). It illustrates the merits and challenges of doing this through two case studies in the Netherlands and concludes that a design science framework provides a way of integrating traditional validation-oriented research with intervention-oriented design approaches. We argue that working at the interface between them will create new opportunities for these complementary modes of public policy research to achieve impact.
Original languageEnglish
Article number1234
Pages (from-to)149-165
JournalPolicy & Politics
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2020


  • design science
  • public policy
  • evidence-based policy
  • engaged scholarship
  • what works
  • public involvement
  • collaborative governance
  • public administration
  • Design science
  • Evidence-based policy
  • Public involvement
  • What works
  • Collaborative governance
  • Public policy
  • Public administration
  • Engaged scholarship


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