A Critical Approach to Evidence-based Resettlement Policy: Lessons Learned from an Australian Muslim Refugee Sports Program

Jeremy Northcote, Suzy Casimiro


The increasing emphasis placed on evidence-based policy in government and community organisations presents some interesting challenges and potential opportunities in the area of immigration research. Policy in this area, perhaps more so than any other, has been influenced by various public discourses that to a considerable extent have been devoid of an evidence- base. The area is therefore ripe territory for academics to construct a more critically oriented approach to evidence-based policy that aims for greater transparency and justification grounded in research findings. This paper outlines how evidence-based research can move beyond being research for policies to being research of policies through critically evaluating immigration and resettlement policies in terms of their objectives, relevance and effectiveness through the lens of program evaluation. The case of the Australian government’s cultural integration program for refugee settlers will be examined, with the lessons learned from a program that attempted to link Muslim youth to community sporting clubs being discussed in relation to the critical approach outlined. 

Full Text: