A narrative policy approach to environmental conservation

Ricky Neil Lawton, Murray Alan Rudd

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Due to the urgency and seriousness of the loss of biological diversity, scientists from across a range of disciplines are urged to increase the salience and use of their research by policy-makers. Increased policy nuance is needed to address the science–policy gap and overcome divergent views of separate research and policy worlds, a view still relatively common among conservation scientists. Research impact considerations should recognize that policy uptake is dependent on contextual variables operating in the policy sphere. We provide a novel adaptation of existing policy approaches to evidence impact that accounts for non-evidentiary “societal” influences on decision-making. We highlight recent analytical tools from political science that account for the use of evidence by policy-makers. Using the United Kingdom’s recent embrace of the ecosystem approach to environmental management, we advocate analyzing evidence research impact through a narrative lens that accounts for the credibility, legitimacy, and relevance of science for policy.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)849–857
Number of pages9
JournalAMBIO: A Journal of the Human Environment
Issue number7
Early online date14 Mar 2014
Publication statusPublished - 1 Nov 2014


  • Context
  • Research impacts
  • Narrative Policy Framework
  • Diverger
  • Converger
  • Ecosystem services

Cite this