Considering knowledge uptake within a cycle of transforming data, information, and knowledge

Sarah Michaels, Nancy P. Goucher, Dan McCarthy

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

13 Scopus citations


Knowledge uptake, having decision makers assimilate the ideas of experts, is recognized as an important stimulus to bringing about policy change. This is particularly true in the realm of environmental policymaking, which is characterized by knowledge intensity, complexity, and multifaceted concerns. Using examples from an innovative watershed management organization, this article presents a heuristic for understanding how knowledge uptake occurs within a cycle of organizational reasoning. This cycle is driven by activities that transform data, information, and knowledge and that link specialists with decision makers. The heuristic can be used as a diagnostic tool to identify breaks in the transformation process that impede mandate fulfillment and impair capacity building. Lack of appreciation of the dynamic relationship between data, information and knowledge leads to mistimed and ineffective policy interventions that do not result in the hoped for progress in science intended to underpin policy advances.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)267-279
Number of pages13
JournalReview of Policy Research
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2006
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Public Administration
  • Management, Monitoring, Policy and Law


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