How can we make research more useful for policy and society?
The journey from research to evidence and policymaking is not linear: it may be direct when research findings directly inspire policy, or indirect through various uses and interpretations of research and evidence in political and public debates. Many development scholars feel that development research does not make its way into policy as much as it should, while many policy-makers feel that research is largely irrelevant to the problems that they have to address. Can this dissonance be reduced – and if so, how? What do you suggest that researchers, the wider scholarly community and knowledge brokers like GDN do, to make research more useful for you?
To mark its 20th anniversary, GDN is launching an innovative new blog series that seeks to present the point of view of the users, rather than the creators, of social science research. We want to build a better understanding of the ‘demand for research’ from stakeholders outside academia. We invite you – development institutions, civil servants, politicians, journalists, NGOs, private sector leaders and civil society – to write about your experiences in using research or trying to make evidence from social science research work for you. In doing so, we hope to stimulate a global reflection on making research more useful for policy and public debate, to add to current thinking on this subject, and to share learning.
Some questions to ponder (among many others that you should feel free to address) are:
- Do you think research is, or could be, useful for you, and is it worthwhile to promote its use for policy and/or monitoring programs?
- Can you share testimonies of successful research and evidence use in your field of activity? What were the reasons for success? Conversely, has your institution or office ever commissioned research or an evaluation that ultimately could not be used ?
- What kind of research and evidence is most useful for you and when? How about the converse?
- How do you access knowledge relevant for your activity, and what is the role of academic research in providing such knowledge?
- Would you expect good research to recommend courses of action for you to ponder, or are you more interested in just factual and analytical information or data?
- Would you like development research to be more accessible to you, through intermediaries identifying thematically relevant work, and possibly summarizing it for you?
- Should researchers know more about the policymaking environment, and what should they know?
- What interactions between researchers and policymakers should be encouraged? What role do intermediaries play in this process?
- How can a culture of using evidence for development impact be institutionalized, so as to outlive an occasional champion within the organization?
We are looking for succinct pieces rooted in real life examples. Your blog submission will be reviewed and polished by an editorial committee, translated, and published in English, French, and Spanish on www.globaldev.blog, an international platform that singles out urgent development challenges and illustrates learning from research.
Please submit your queries and/or your 800-1,000 word articles to