Eight ways research gets into Parliament*

* /eight ways you could get your research into Parliament



Good morning Friends,

I’m really pleased that so many of you found last week’s blog post on getting research into policy environments helpful.

Your response got me thinking, and I reckon I’ve some further insights in the same area, which I also gleaned during my time at POST.

So, without further ado, let me share what I learnt about how research gets into Parliament.

Oh, but first, one more thing: I hope you will be empowered with this knowledge. The names of relevant people, email addresses, Twitter accounts and pertinent information are all readily available online if you want to (re)act…

Eight ways research gets into Parliament (pdf here)


1) Through the Parliamentary Office of Science and Technology (POST)

  • POST provides independent, balanced analyses of topics in science and technology for both MPs and Peers
  • The office publishes short briefings on relevant topics and also hosts events
  • Input comes from a wide variety or sources including both academics and their research

2) Through Commons and Lords Select Committee Inquiries

  • Committees set an agenda for inquiries they want to carry out
  • They also ask for ideas for inquiries on Twitter or their webpages
  • They get written and oral evidence from various sources including academics
  • The outcome of an inquiry is a report, which Government is obliged to respond to

3) Through All-Party Parliamentary Groups (APPGs)

  • APPGs are composed of MPs and Peers who have an interest in a particular area, e.g. ‘the aluminium industry’, ‘arts, health and wellbeing’ and ‘biodiversity’ (they are a bit like university societies)
  • They hold meetings on different topics with invited speakers who are sometimes academic researchers

4) Through Political Researchers

  • Some MPs employ researchers to work in their offices, carry out research and gather information for them
  • An MP’s position in Government, for example ‘shadow secretary of state for health’, will impact on the sorts of information the researcher is tasked with gathering

5) Through Direct Correspondence and Engagement with MPs and Peers

  • MPs and Peers have specific areas of interest be on account of: the nature of their constituency; their political affiliation; or their general interests
  • One of the ways they find out more about these areas of interest is through engaging with academics in relevant disciplines

6) Through Commons Debate Packs

  • When a debate is planned for a particular topic, for example ‘shale gas’, library specialists quickly compile briefing packs for MPs ahead of the debate
  • Packs may include news items, press releases and parliamentary material
  • They may also include information from research centres

7) Through Commons Research Briefings and Lords Library Notes

  • The House of Commons and House of Lords each have a library
  • The Commons library has a number of subject specialists who research and write briefings on relevant topics
  • The Lords library also produces briefings
  • Some of the input comes from academics and their research

8) Through Commons Library Responses to MPs Questions

  • The House of Commons library provides a confidential service for MPs and their staff wherein they can submit requests to the library for answers to questions they have
  • Academic research, as well as other sources of information, may contribute to the response