Researcher biography

Michele has worked in the ISSR since 2007. During this time she has worked on several projects, including 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 is currently attached to an ARC Discovery Grant, which is exploring the role of social science research in resolving complex policy problems. In addition, 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.