Researcher biography

Michele worked in the ISSR from 2007-2016. During this time she worked on several projects, including an ARC Discovery Grant which explored the role of social science research in resolving complex policy problems; an ARC Linkage Grant on the utilisation of social science research in policy development; an ARC Discovery Grant on the spatial determinants of transitions in and out of unemployment in Australia; and a study of work/life balance in the public sector.

 She has been enrolled in a PhD in the ISSR since January 2015.

PhD topic

The possibilities and perils of the research impact agenda: Understanding and mapping social science pathways to impact in relation to public policy-making.


  • Professor Brian Head (Principal)
  • Emeritus Professor Paul Boreham (Associate)

Research interests

  • The research impact agenda
  • Evidence-based policy
  • Public and social policy
  • Environmental sociology and policy


Journal articles

Cherney, A., Head, B.W., Povey, J., Ferguson, M. and Boreham, P. (2015) 'Use of academic social research by public officials: exploring preferences and constraints that impact on research use', Evidence and Policy, 11(2):169-188. doi:10.1332/174426514X14138926450067

Head, B., Ferguson, M., Cherney, A. and Boreham, P. (2014) 'Are policy-makers interested in social research? Exploring the sources and uses of valued information among public servants in Australia', Policy and Society, 33: 89-101. doi:

Cherney, A., Head, B.W., Boreham, P., Povey, J. and Ferguson, M. (2013) 'The utilisation of social science research - the perspectives of academic researchers in Australia', Journal of Sociology, 51(2): 252-270. doi: 10.1177/1440783313505008.

Cherney, A., Head, B.W., Boreham, P., Povey, J. and Ferguson, M. (2013) 'Research utilization in the social sciences: A comparison of five academic disciplines in Australia', Science Communication, 35 (6): 780-809. doi: 10.1177/1075547013491398.

Cherney, A., Povey, J., Head, B.W., Boreham, P. and Ferguson, M. (2012) ‘What influences the utilisation of educational research by policy-makers and practitioners? The perspectives of academic educational researchers’, International Journal of Educational Research, 56: 23-34.

Cherney, A., Head, B.W., Boreham, P., Povey, J. and Ferguson, M. (2012) ‘Perspectives of academic social scientists on knowledge transfer and research collaborations: a cross sectional survey of Australian academics’, Evidence & Policy, 8 (4): 433-453.

McCrea, R., Boreham, P. and Ferguson, M. (2011) ‘Reducing work-to-life interference in the public service: The underlying importance of participative management as mediated by other work attributes’, Journal of Sociology, 47(3): 313-332.

Other publications

Ferguson, M. (2015) 'Book review: Public innovation through collaboration and design',International Review of Public Administration, 20 (3): 323-327. doi:
Available online at:

Head, B and Ferguson, M. (2015) 'Do public officials believe in evidence-informed policy?', International Research Society for Public Management Conference.

Ferguson, M. (2014) 'The research impact agenda: Defining, demonstrating and defending the value of the social sciences', The Australian Review of Public Affairs, August. Available online at:

Cherney, A., Head, B., Boreham, P., Povey, J. and Ferguson, M. (2011) The Utilisation of Social Science Research in Policy Development and Program Review. Preliminary report: Phase 1 results. University of Queensland, Institute for Social Science Research.