Communications

P&I and contributors seek to understand the challenges that both researchers and policymakers face when attempting to engage with each other on complex ideas and situations, as well as identify innovative channels and tools to communicate research.

 

Emerging leaders: Daring to really listen

[This blog post is part of a new series "Emerging leaders" that will explore ideas, practices and approaches to enable a new paradigm in leadership: an integral one that unites the external with the internal, the heart with the mind and the femenine with the masculine qualities. P&I believes in the potential of such a paradigm to bring new and fresh eyes to the interaction between knowledge and policy. Contributions from interested readers are more than welcome].

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Communications in policy making: making it professional for policy success

Think tanks need to communicate well, to succeed. Much of the emphasis is often on the website, or on high-gloss publications. At the same time, much other communication also matters: emails, memos, letters, reports, press releases, minutes of meetings, and extensive internal communication. The same is true for policy makers: success requires that you get many dimensions of professional communication right.

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How can we improve feedback?

[Editor’s note: This post was written by Annapoorna Ravichander, Independent consultant and contributor of Politics & Ideas.]

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Our achievements in 2015 and our desires for 2016

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Strategising Research Communication at CSTEP: building an effective team

[Editor's note: This post was written by Arushi Sen, Senior Communication Officer, and Dr. Annapoorna Ravichander, Head of Communication and Policy Engagement at the Center for Study of Science, Technology and Policy (CSTEP). ‘Strategising Research Communication at CSTEP’ is a two-part article that traces CSTEP’s experiences in formally instituting communication strategies to achieve certain organisational objectives. Part 1 describes the processes of development and implementation of a Communication Strategy. Part 2 focuses on the need for a dedicated team and the advantages of having a team over alternative methods of communication adopted by other organisations.]

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Strategising Research Communication at CSTEP: developing a communications strategy

[Editor's note: This post was written by Arushi Sen, Senior Communication Officer, and Dr. Annapoorna Ravichander, Head of Communication and Policy Engagement at the Center for Study of Science, Technology and Policy (CSTEP). ‘Strategising Research Communication at CSTEP’ is a two-part article that traces CSTEP’s experiences in formally instituting communication strategies to achieve certain organisational objectives. Part 1 describes the processes of development and implementation of a Communication Strategy. Part 2 focuses on the need for a dedicated team and the advantages of having a team over alternative methods of communication adopted by other organisations.]

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Standards & Guidelines: An Effective Tool for Researchers and think tanks

[Editor's note: This post was written by Bhavna Sharma, Associate, Communication and Policy Engagement, and Dr. Annapoorna Ravichander, Head Communication and Policy Engagement at the Center for Study of Science, Technology and Policy (CSTEP).]

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Independent Analysis and Ethics: The case of the “Uncomfortable Truth”

[Editor's Note: This post was originally published at Research to Action. During a session on the role of ethics at the Think Tank Initiative Exchange, Margarita Beneke De Sanfeliu, from FUSADES, discussed how the think tank retains reputational integrity in the face of opposition and accusation.]

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Showcasing Policy Impact through Cinema

[Editor's note: This post was written by  Dr. Annapoorna Ravichander, Head of Communication and Policy Engagement, and Arushi Sen, Media Coordinator, at the Center for Study of Science, Technology and Policy (CSTEP).]

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Structuring Data Management

[Editor's note: This post was written by Bhavna Sharma, Database Management Consultant, and  Dr. Annapoorna Ravichander, Head Communication and Policy Engagement at the Center for Study of Science, Technology and Policy (CSTEP).]

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Think Tanks and communications: the challenge of being reasonable, resourceful and proactive

[Editor's note: This post was written by Henna Mahmood and Shubha Jayaram, Senior Communications Associate and Senior Program Officer at Results for Development Institute (R4D).]

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Final postcard from the Think Tank Initiative Exchange

[Editor's Note: This post was originally published by Richard Darlington, Head of News at IPPR and co-founder of WonkComms, at Think Tank Review. Other Richard's postcards from TTIX2015 are here and here. For other reflections on TTIX2015  published at P&I see here, herehere, here and here.]

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TTIX 2015: re-visiting the endless possibilities of written communications

P&I was invited to moderate two sessions during the Think Tank Initiative Exchange 2015 in Istanbul. The first one focused its attention on written tools for communications. Representatives from three think tanks (Dushni Weerakoon from IPS, Sri Lanka, José Angel Quirós from Fusades, El Salvador, and Susan Nicolai and Katy Harris from ODI, UK) were invited to present their experiences to enable a collective exploration of how case studies, policy briefs, and blogs can enhance engagement with key actors in the policymaking space. Then, Leonardo Garnier, former Minister of Education in Costa Rica, was invited to share his own thoughts and reflections based on this variety of tools and experiences.

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Sharing data: a first step using infographics

[Editor's Note: This post was originally published by Maria Urbina-Fauser, Programme Officer at the Think Tank Initiative IDRC at Research to Action.]

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The Think Tank Initiative´s Global Exchange: an opportunity to foster peer (and non-peer!) learning

By Nyctalimon with CC license

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Annual Report - a Powerful Communicating Tool

[Editor's note: This post was written by Dr. Annapoorna Ravichander, Head, Communication & Policy Engagement Team at the Center for Study of Science, Technology and Policy (CSTEP).]

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Communication off the map: three principles for policy influence in emerging democracies

[Editor's note: This post originally appeared at Research to Action. It was written by Nicholas Benequista, a researcher with an interest in media, social movements and how to build better connections between theory and action. He is currently working on a PhD thesis about Kenyan journalism with the Department of Media and Communications at the London School of Economics and Political Science. He tweets about media and international development at @benequista.] 

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Selecting diverse ways to reach audiences: a strategically ongoing effort

In this previous post about how think tanks are segmenting communications to reach diverse audiences we shared some findings of this study, mainly centred in the levels and tools with which these organisations go around segmentation. One of the main ones is the stakeholder mapping/analysis, which was also analysed in that post.

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The challenge of communicating with different actors: is segmentation a good investment for think tanks?

Think tanks are increasingly asking themselves how they can fine tune their communications so as to interact more effectively with the several stakeholders that are part of their field of action: from politicians and bureaucrats, to similar organisations and donors. Moreover, as they re-think about their policy influence efforts they begin to develop a more nuanced and sophisticated approach to the development of their communications strategies.

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Getting policy makers to hear community voices

[Editor's note: This post was written by Rebecca Pointer, Information and Communication Officer at the Institute for Poverty, Land and Agrarian Studies (PLAAS), University of the Western Cape. She shares how community activists were able to successfully use a video produced by PLAAS  to change the direction of a policy and improve their own situation]

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Open letter, a communication strategy to influence policy decision makers

[Editor's Note: This post was written by Luz Helena Sanchez Gomez, MD MPH. She is Executive Director and Senior Researcher at the Colombian Association for Health in the field of Health Policy & Systems.]

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Good communications is not enough to get evidence into policy

[Editor's Note: This post was written by Clara Richards, programme manager at INASP, and was originally published at INASP's blog]

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Power and ideology are the keys to communicating research

[Editor's Note: This post is a reflection on the webinar 'Nevermind the research piece! Communicating in Policy Environments'. It was written by Rebecca Pointer, one of the speakers at the webinar and Information and Communications Officer at the Institute for Poverty, Land and Agrarian Studies (PLAAS). It is published in tandem with VIPPAL.]

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An insight into the Webinar “Nevermind the research piece! Communicating in policy environments”

[Editor's Note: This post was written by Leandro Echt, Coordinator of the Influence, Monitoring and Evaluation Program at CIPPEC. This article is also available in Spanish at VIPPAL.]

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Should we start building a 'networked communications' culture?

We are ready to re-frame the way we think and talk about how communications can contribute for research to inform public policies. We need to think more about 'networked communications', which means communicating with others, instead of crafting plans, strategies and activities that build only on what our institution or we as individual researchers can bring into the policy table. This is one of my main conclusions after spending more than 90 minutes sharing thoughts, experiences and questions with colleagues around the globe in the webinar Never mind the research piece! Communicating in policy environments, co-organized by Politics & Ideas and CIPPEC on March 18th.

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FREE Webinar: Never mind the research piece! Communicating in policy environments

Join us on March 18 at 2 p.m. GMT for a FREE webinar by Politics&Ideas and CIPPEC (with the support of GDNet) on how to re-think our current focus in research communications. We will propose to de-centre it from the research work and instead focus on the context of policy and politics.

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The communication of research -from our Topic Guide

A lot is said about the communication of research. Over the last few years there have been significant changes in the ways that funders view communications and the role it plays within research centres and projects. DFID, for example, has gone from demanding at least 10% of research grants and contracts to be spent on communications to suggesting that this should be closer to 30% to installing a blanket freeze on communications (all within a few years). Other funders have followed similar conflicting decisions. (I am not quick to judge. These decisions respond to political pressures that are understandable -but are also explained by the absence for a clear knowledge base for each. The 10% rule, for example, is not based on any evidence. It was a common sense decision.)

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The communication of research: insights from our Topic Guide

The communication of research is a subject that concerns many in the policy research communities across the developing world. The subject is extensive and covers more than just the channels and tools that research centres and other similar organisations employ to communicate their ideas and arguments.

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The future of think tank communications in Peru

Two months ago, a group of UK based think tank communicators organised an event on the future of think tank communications.

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Communication innovations to inform public debate: PLAAS' Fact Check series

This post was written by Rebecca Pointer, Information and Communication Officer, Institute for Poverty, Land and Agrarian Studies (PLAAS), University of the Western Cape.

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Clear rules for a publishing process

Editor’s note: This post was jointly written with Analistas Independientes de Guatemala’s team

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An "evidence and communications stalemate" regarding GMOs in Zambia

An important question for researchers to ask themselves is what factors affect how evidence is used in policy debates – in other words, the politics of evidence-based policymaking. This is precisely what ODI and the Mwananchi program decided to look into through their Politics of Research-based Uptake in African Policy Debates. This post describes their case study in Zambia on this country’s acceptance of genetically modified organisms (GMOs); in it, the debate regarding GMOs is framed by evidence, but since there is no Zambia-specific evidence and no communication from the Zambian government, there is an “evidence and communications stalemate”, which in turn is highly influenced by international actors motivated by financial motives.

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Health research and the media – challenges in communication

Research centres such as think tanks might produce noteworthy findings on advancements in the health sector. Yet, what factors impede journalists to accurately report health research and support debate on health? A report by Robert Vincent, Senior HIV and AIDS adviser to PANOS London points out that, in Uganda, researchers are usually wary of the media misreporting their work. At the same time, such research might not be made readily available by health ministries, agencies and centres which would result in journalists looking for information elsewhere – increasing the chances of it being inaccurate. In other contexts, political pressure and direct intimidation can also discourage journalists from publicizing particular government health policies.

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Say no to developing new communication channels that are not linked to your core business

[Editor's note: This Idea was shared by Laura Zommer, CIPPEC's former Head of Communications and current Director of Chequeado.com]

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Online course on Research communications

Are you interested in better communicating your research to inform policymaking? Have you ever wondered whether there are any specific methodologies and approaches that could help you prioritize and focus your communication activities so that you increase possibilities of your evidence influencing public policies even in a complex and changing environment?

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