IDEAS home Printed from
   My bibliography  Save this article

"It's not true": learning to learn from rejection


  • Mirjam Southwell
  • Will Thomas


This paper explores the experience of two academics commissioned, by a public body engaged in policy formulation, to carry out research to inform the policy process. During the presentation of qualitative data to the public body, one representative exclaimed "it's not true!" The report was buried and we were rejected. We did not fully appreciate the implications of making recommendations from research that conflicted with existing policy interests. We suggest that the rejection of the report exposes the impact of lack of understanding of the political processes at play in policy-making. Meetings had been held and the use of qualitative methods had been agreed by all parties yet these meetings failed to prevent the rejection of the research. The paper concludes that the key challenge is in convincing policy makers of the validity and usefulness of qualitative evidence and offers tentative suggestions of how this task might be approached.

Suggested Citation

  • Mirjam Southwell & Will Thomas, 2010. ""It's not true": learning to learn from rejection," International Journal of Data Analysis Techniques and Strategies, Inderscience Enterprises Ltd, vol. 2(4), pages 373-384.
  • Handle: RePEc:ids:injdan:v:2:y:2010:i:4:p:373-384

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL:
    Download Restriction: Access to full text is restricted to subscribers.

    As the access to this document is restricted, you may want to search for a different version of it.


    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:ids:injdan:v:2:y:2010:i:4:p:373-384. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Darren Simpson). General contact details of provider: .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    We have no references for this item. You can help adding them by using this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.