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Bestuurskundigen beantwoorden vragen over hun vak

Tijdschrift Bestuurskunde, Aflevering 1 2016
Trefwoorden public administration research, public administration field, state of play, advice, applied research
Auteurs Prof. dr. Martijn van der Steen
SamenvattingAuteursinformatie

    The field of public administration research is continuously changing. This article takes stock of the field by asking four open questions to a large group of public administration practitioners and scholars. The questions prompt a debate about the state of play of the field of public administration in The Netherlands. Several dilemmas become apparent. Firstly, there is the tension between rigor and relevance of research. More rigorous methodology should not come at the expense of relevance in practice. Moreover, pressure to publish in international academic journals draws scholars away from the more practical outlets for research findings. Ever more is ‘written’, but less of that reaches the more practical audiences. This is congruent with the impression that public administration scholars should invest more in their narratives, so that the important message of public administration research reaches wider audiences and helps to reflect on pressing societal issues. Furthermore, there is a need for public administration scholars to be more active in helping practitioners solve the complex policy puzzles they face. This requires the ability to walk the fine line between keeping distance and becoming genuinely involved in policy processes. All of these factors can help the field of public administration take next steps in its development, to regain the connection with practice and raise its academic standards.


Prof. dr. Martijn van der Steen
Prof.dr. M.A. van der Steen is adjunct-directeur van de NSOB en bijzonder hoogleraar aan de Erasmus Universiteit Rotterdam.
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