2015/16 - Evidence
The IAS’s choice of the theme Evidence in 2015/16 was intended to generate a dialogue between disciplines, and between academics and research users, about the role of evidence in academic enquiry, policy and everyday life. This dialogue explored how evidence is constituted; how it is read, understood and evaluated; and how it is used. Information becomes evidence when it is assessed in relation to specific questions and discursive practices. This is a recursive relationship: evidence and the framework in which it is located are mutually constitutive.
To explore the dynamic nature of evidence and its formation and use, groups of researchers worked on the following sub-theme activities. Evidence and Interdisciplinarity raisied questions – which had relevance to all of the sub-theme activities – about how diverse kinds of evidence can (and sometimes cannot) be reconciled in interdisciplinary research. Other sub-themes addressed more specific aspects of evidence. Evidence, Policy and Regulation addressed the formation and use of evidence in the development of policy, legislation and practice. Evidence and Spatio-Temporality highlighted the importance of the diverse social and material contexts in which evidence is located. Evidence and Experience focused on how people engage with evidence, cognitively, imaginatively and phenomenologically, and considers how evidence and experience (for example in healthcare) can both challenge and support each other. Evidence and Representation considered the ways in which evidence is represented, observing that representational choices are often as critical as the evidence itself. Visual Evidence explored how visual forms and objects constitute evidence, communicate ideas and form knowledge, and examines the relationships between visual and other types of evidence.