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Do the findings really speak for themselves? An examination of alcohol research/policy interface.


Aileen Connor

Type: Report
Region: Republic of Ireland
Northern Ireland

In the context of ongoing public debate about the prevalence of alcohol-related problems in Ireland, the purpose of this study is to examine the interface between alcohol research and alcohol policy, with a view to determining how, and to what extent, the findings of research are incorporated into public policy in this sphere. The theoretical context of this debate is provided by the varying historical conceptualisations of alcohol problems and it is grounded in an empirical exploration of research into alcohol consumption and public policy in Ireland. Within this context a ten year trends analysis of weekly alcohol consumption levels is presented, and the implications for alcohol policy are explored. The nature of the interface between alcohol policy and alcohol research is examined, and the question of what other determinants influence the formulation of alcohol policy is considered. An alternative, more successful, research/ policy interface in the form of the National Drugs Strategy is appraised and the question of whether alcohol should be included in this strategy is debated. In conclusion, this study of alcohol research and policy deduces that where the site of direct 'interface' between public health research and governmental policy should stand, there is instead a gulf, and as yet no bridge seems to exist between evidenced-based policy ideals of health promotionists and the realities of formulating public policy. What link does exist between research and policy is a much more evolutionary one, where the research which best 'fits' the policy process in question is selected and where evidence-based research is only one of many, sometimes competing, determinants in the policy processes.



Rights: Public
Suggested citation:

Aileen Connor. (2007) Do the findings really speak for themselves? An examination of alcohol research/policy interface. [Online]. Available from: [Accessed: 24th August 2019].


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