Research and Ideas

P&I and contributors are interested in identifying innovative research methods and tools that can help researchers and research organizations to improve the quality and relevance of their studies and increase possibilities of uptake by different audiences. Moreover, we want to place the study of ideas back into their political, social and economic context and reflect on how these emerge from evidence, consolidate themselves, are shared and adopted, or rejected, or even transformed as different stakeholders work on them.

 

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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‘Reading organizations’: a new diagnostic tool to improve knowledge to policy systems

[This post was produced by Clara Richards, member of Politics&Ideas and Senior Programme Manager, Evidence-Informed Policy Making Team, INASP. It is a part of the series to share insights on a pilot to apply our framework on how context affects the use of knowledge in policy in the Secretariat for Public Administration of the Prime Minister’s Office in Peru.]

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Improving the use of knowledge in the Secretariat for Public Administration of the Prime (SGP) Minister’s Office in Peru

About a month ago, Politics & Ideas and INASP  invited government agencies to participate in an opportunity to improve the use of knowledge in policy through the application of a new diagnostic tool focused on how the context affects this type of efforts. This tool can help agencies clearly understand how a public institution is currently producing and using knowledge to inform policy, identify windows of opportunity for change, prioritize areas for improvement and co-design feasible change plans.

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100+ Government Mechanisms to Advance the Use of Data and Evidence in Policymaking: A Landscape Review

[Editor’s note: This article originally appeared on Evidence in Action, the Results for All Blog. It was written by Abeba Taddese, Executive Director, to announce the “100+ Government Mechanisms to Advance the Use of Data and Evidence in Policymaking: A Landscape Review” and case studies on Ghana, Kenya, and Canada. The review can be downloaded here.]

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Leaders who dare: a new paradigm to enhance the knowledge and policy interaction

Ken Wilber´s Four Quadrants

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A more interdisciplinary approach can help us understand why research evidence does or doesn’t make it into policy

[Editor’s note: This piece originally appeared on the LSE Impact Blog and is reposted under Creative Commons CC BY 3.0. Effective communication of research is often cited as being most important to gaining the attention of policymakers. This arguably underestimates the sheer complexity of the policymaking process, assuming a linear route from evidence to policy and practice. Fiona Blyth and Carmen Huckel Schneider explain why breaking down walls between different academic disciplines could enhance our understanding of why research evidence does − or doesn’t − make it into policy, and also suggest questions that researchers might ask as a “gateway” to understanding these different approaches to evidence-informed policymaking.]

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P&I and INASP partner to strengthen evidence use in policy

Courtesy of thinkpublic under CC at flickr.com

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How can we make our research to be policy relevant?

At Politics & Ideas we are convinced that doing high quality and policy relevant research is just as important as communicating or disseminating it effectively to ensure its impact on policy. That is why in 2015 we launched the online course Doing policy-relevant research, with support of the Think Tank Fund and the Think Tank Initiative. Reflecting carefully on your research agenda is indeed a good way to ensure it is policy relevance.

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A primer on policy entrepreneurs

[Editor's note: This post was originally published by Joe Luetjens, a PhD fellow in the Successful Public Governance program at Utrecht School of Governance, Utrecht University at www.i2insights.org]

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Let´s embrace culture: listen about its importance in Webinar #3 of our series Going beyond ‘Context matters’

Courtesy of Olga Gayda under CC at flickr.com

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Reminder: Free webinar series / #4 Management & processses / January 17

Are you a policymaker, a researcher, a capacity building expert or a donor interested in better understanding how context affects the interaction between knowledge and policy?

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Come and learn about resources for evidence use in policy making: recorded webinar #2

In our last post we shared the link to the recorded version and summarized the main ideas discussed at the first webinar of  our six-part "Going beyond 'context matters'" webinar series, which explores six key dimensions of context as outlined in our conceptual framework. The first webinar focused on the macro-context dimensión.

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Come and learn about macro-context: recorded webinar #1

Our webinar series is convening a very rich groups of speakers, most of them policymakers, to reflect on the different dimensions of context. As presented in our conceptual framework we discovered six main dimensions that account for how a public institution can produce and use knowledge in policy (or not): macro-context, inter and intra relationships, organizational capacity, culture, management and procesess and core resources.

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Learning and reflecting on Evidence Informed Policy Making

[ This post was produced by Emily Hayter is Programme Manager for Evidence Informed Policy Making at INASP: ehayter@inasp.info]

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A co-creation challenge: Aligning research and policy processes

[Editor's Note: This piece was written by Katrin Prager, senior social scientist at the James Hutton Institute in Aberdeen, Scotland, and originally appeared at Integration and Implementation Insights.]

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Reminder: Free webinar series / #1 Macro - context / October 25

Are you a policymaker, a researcher, a capacity building expert or a donor interested in better understanding how context affects the interaction between knowledge and policy?

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Conceptual framework for how public institutions generate and use knowledge /Culture 1

[Editor’s note: This post is part a series produced by Vanesa Weyrauch and Leandro Echt from Politics&Ideas to present the conceptual framework and its implications developed under the project “Going beyond ‘Context matters”, supported by the International Network for the Availability of Scientific Publications (INASP).]

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Free webinar series: Going beyond context matters / #1 Macro – context

Are you a policymaker, a researcher, a capacity building expert or a donor interested in better understanding how context affects the interaction between knowledge and policy?

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We won’t achieve the Sustainable Development Goals if developing country researchers can’t play their part

[Editor’s note: This post was written by Jon Harle, Senior Programme Manager, Research Access & Higher Education and Director of the Strengthening Research & Knowledge Systems programme at the International Network for the Availability of Scientific Publications (INASP). This post was originally published at INASP's blog Practising Development.]  

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Conceptual framework for how public institutions generate and use knowledge / Intra and inter-relationships 2

[Editor's note: This post is part a series produced by Vanesa Weyrauch and Leandro Echt from Politics&Ideas to present the conceptual framework and is implications developed under the project "Going beyond 'Context matters'', supported by the International Network for the Availability of Scientific Publications (INASP).]

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Conceptual framework for how public institutions generate and use knowledge / Intra and inter-relationships 1

[Editor's note: This post is part a series produced by Vanesa Weyrauch and Leandro Echt from Politics&Ideas to present the conceptual framework and is implications developed under the project "Going beyond 'Context matters'', supported by the International Network for the Availability of Scientific Publications (INASP).]

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Conceptual framework for how public institutions generate and use knowledge / Macro-context (Circumstantial factors)

[Editor's note: This post is part a series produced by Vanesa Weyrauch and Leandro Echt from Politics&Ideas to present the conceptual framework developed under the project "Going beyond 'Context matters'', supported by the International Network for the Availability of Scientific Publications (INASP).]

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Reminder: Webinar "Going beyond context matters"

Are you interested in better understanding how context can affect and be affected by efforts to promote a better interaction between research and policy? 

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Conceptual framework for how public institutions generate and use knowledge / Macro-context

[Editor's note: This post is part a series produced by Vanesa Weyrauch and Leandro Echt from Politics&Ideas to present the conceptual framework developed under the project "Going beyond 'Context matters'', supported by the International Network for the Availability of Scientific Publications (INASP). For an overall synthesis of the whole project, visit our interactive product]

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Think-tanking in environments with low value assigned to research

[Editor’s note: This post was written by Simonida Kacarska, Research Coordinator at the European Policy Institute, Macedonia. It is the tenth article of a series of reflections to share what facilitators and participants learned through P&I’s online course Doing policy relevant research, ran for the first time in the first quarter of 2016.]

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Dialogue over dissemination: Unlocking the potential of knowledge exchange through creative collaboration

[Editor's note: This piece originally appeared on the LSE Impact Blog and is reposted under Creative Commons CC BY 3.0. Knowledge exchange and impact activities often have to negotiate, incorporate and synthesise different kinds of expertise. Mona Sloane looks at how the Configuring Light Roundtables have sought to bring together perspectives on inequalities in social housing lighting by encouraging productive dialogue between those with abstract and practical expertise. This kind of collaboration offers real potential for re-defining universities as knowledge spaces in a creative way. In this model of impact, the boundaries between academic and practitioner blur and dialogue is prioritised over dissemination.]

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The power of reflection when building your research agenda

[Editor’s note: This post was written by Tanja Jakobi, Media analyst and researcher at CENTAR Public Policy Research Centre, Serbia. It is the ninth article of a series of reflections to share what facilitators and participants learned through P&I’s online course Doing policy relevant research, ran for the first time in the first quarter of 2016.]

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So, how do we start from context?

[Editor's note: This post is part a series produced by Vanesa Weyrauch and Leandro Echt from Politics&Ideas to present the conceptual framework developed under the project "Going beyond 'Context matters'', supported by the International Network for the Availability of Scientific Publications (INASP). For an overall synthesis of the whole project, visit our interactive product]

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Choosing to innovate on your research agenda

[Editor’s note: This post is the eighth of a series produced by Andrea Ordóñez and Leandro Echt  from Politics & Ideas to share what we learned through the online course Doing policy relevant research, ran for the first time in the first quarter of 2016.]

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Methodological choices to inform policy

[Editor’s note: This post is the seventh of a series produced by Andrea Ordóñez and Leandro Echt  from Politics & Ideas to share what we learned through the online course Doing policy relevant research, ran for the first time in the first quarter of 2016. The course was supported by the Think Tank Fund and the Think Tank Initiative. This post was originally published at Aditi Bulletin]

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Understanding policy problems and their implications in your research decisions

[Editor’s note: This post is the sixth of a series produced by Andrea Ordóñez and Leandro Echt  from Politics & Ideas to share what we learned through the online course Doing policy relevant research, ran for the first time in the first quarter of 2016. The course was supported by the Think Tank Fund and the Think Tank Initiative.]

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Drafting and validating your research agenda

[Editor’s note: This post is the fifth of a series produced by Andrea Ordóñez and Leandro Echt  from Politics & Ideas to share what we learned through the online course Doing policy relevant research, ran for the first time in the first quarter of 2016. The course was supported by the Think Tank Fund and the Think Tank Initiative.]

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Why do we need to analyze our context to design a research agenda?

[Editor’s note: This post is the fourth of a series produced by Andrea Ordóñez and Leandro Echt  from Politics & Ideas to share what we learned through the online course Doing policy relevant research, ran for the first time in the first quarter of 2016. The course was supported by the Think Tank Fund and the Think Tank Initiative.]

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Individual and institutional research agendas: how are they different?

[Editor’s note: This post is the third of a series produced by Andrea Ordóñez and Leandro Echt  from Politics & Ideas to share what we learned through the online course Doing policy relevant research, ran for the first time in the first quarter of 2016. The course was supported by the Think Tank Fund and the Think Tank Initiative.]

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What are the principles of policy relevant research?

[Editor’s note: This post is the second of a series produced by Andrea Ordóñez and Leandro Echt  from Politics & Ideas to share what we learned through the online course Doing policy relevant research, ran for the first time in the first quarter of 2016. The course was supported by the Think Tank Fund and the Think Tank Initiative.]

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Framework to get knowledge into policy. Dimension #1: Macro-context: structural factors that draw clear lines

[Editor’s note: This post is part of a series focused on sharing findings from the conceptual framework developed under the study “Going beyond “Context matters”, conducted by P&I and INASP. The presented framework intends to be a lens to help policymakers, researchers, practitioners and donors better define windows of opportunity in different public institutions to focus efforts on promoting better interaction between knowledge and policy.

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Crafting policy relevant research

[Editor’s note: This post is the introduction to a series produced by Andrea Ordóñez and Leandro Echt  from Politics & Ideas to share what we learned through the online course Doing policy relevant research, ran for the first time in the first quarter of 2016. The course was supported by the Think Tank Fund and the Think Tank Initiative.]

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Going beyond “Context matters”: our conceptual framework is ready waiting for you!

Our study on how context matters is finally here  to share! After several months of reading, interviewing people and systematizing experiences from policymakers aiming to promote the use of knowledge in policy, we are happy to share our conceptual framework. This framework intends to be a lens to help policymakers, researchers, practitioners and donors better define windows of opportunity in different public institutions to focus efforts on promoting better interaction between knowledge and policy. In some weeks we will present a practical paper, which proposes concrete ways in which the framework can be used.

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Context: why focus on public institutions and on politics?

[Editor's note: This post is part a series produced by Vanesa Weyrauch and Leandro Echt from Politics&Ideas to share what we learn through the project "Going beyond 'Context matters'', supported by the International Network for the Availability of Scientific Publications (INASP).]

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Doing research in Bolivia Paraguay and Perú

[Editor’s note: This post was written by Maria Balarin, Senior Researcher at the Group for the Analysis of Development (GRADE). She reflects on openness and what it means in the context of INASP’s work. This post was originally published at Research to Action blog.]  

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Openness is good but not simple

[Editor’s note: This post was written by Julie Brittain, who has recently become the Executive Director of the International Network for the Availability of Scientific Publications (INASP). She reflects on openness and what it means in the context of INASP’s work. This post was originally published at INASP's blog Practising Development.]  

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Our focus for context: governmental institutions

[Editor's note: This post is part a series produced by Vanesa Weyrauch and Leandro Echt from Politics&Ideas to share what we learn through the project "Going beyond 'Context matters'', supported by the International Network for the Availability of Scientific Publications (INASP).]

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Last reminder: Scholarships for online course on using knowledge in policy making in Africa

There is an emerging trend to incorporate knowledge in policymaking and implementation. However, there are several challenges implied as well as ways to use research.  The complexity of policymaking, with many players intervening in the process with their interests and resources, implies that the interaction between the available knowledge and its potential creators and users will vary in diverse contexts. Therefore agents of change will need to  effectively interplay with politics, and develop various skills to match evidence with decisions and policy management.

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So, what is context?

[Editor's note: This post is part a series produced by Vanesa Weyrauch and Leandro Echt from Politics&Ideas to share what we learn through the project "Going beyond 'Context matters'', supported by the International Netowrk for the Availability of Scientific Publications (INASP).]

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Reminder: Scholarships for online course on using knowledge in policy making in Africa

There is an emerging trend to incorporate knowledge in policymaking and implementation. However, there are several challenges implied as well as ways to use research.  The complexity of policymaking, with many players intervening in the process with their interests and resources, implies that the interaction between the available knowledge and its potential creators and users will vary in diverse contexts. Therefore agents of change will need to  effectively interplay with politics, and develop various skills to match evidence with decisions and policy management.

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Theatre, a strategy to raise awareness about public policy challenges

[Editor's note: This post was written by Dr. Prasoon Agarwal, Senior Advisor at Global Green Growth Institute (GGGI), and Dr. Annapoorna Ravichander, Head of Communication & Policy Engagement at the Center for Study of Science, Technology and Policy (CSTEP).]

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Research knowledge is crucial to national and global development

[Editor’s note: This post was written by Julie Brittain, who has recently become the Executive Director of the International Network for the Availability of Scientific Publications (INASP) after four years as Deputy Executive Director and Director of Programmes. She shares why INASP’s work contributes to global development. This post was originally published at INASP's blog Practising Development.]  

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How think tanks attract, engage and retain its human resources: CSTEP's HR Unit

[Editor's note: This post was written by Kavitha Nair, Human Resources Manager at the Center for Study of Science, Technology and Policy (CSTEP).]

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Geographic Information System (GIS): a useful tool for analysing data in policy making decision

[Editor's note: This post was written by Pareexit Chauhan, GIS Analyst, and Dr. Gaurav Kapoor, Senior Research Scientist at the Center for Study of Science, Technology and Policy (CSTEP).]

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Acknowledging a prominent think tank: the Center for Study of Science, Technology and Policy (CSTEP) in India

Politics & Ideas is a joint initiative of researchers and practitioners to co- produce and share innovative and relevant knowledge linking ideas and politics in developing and emerging economies. We encourage researchers and practitioners in the field to speak about their own challenges and share their perspectives about how research can interact (or not) with policy making as they encounter them at the local, national and regional levels.

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Insights into the state of research systems in developing countries – Part 2

[Editor’s note: This post was written by Sue Corbett, Executive Director at the International Network for the Availability of Scientific Publications (INASP), and it was originally published at Practising Development. Part 1 is available here.]

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Insights into the state of research systems in developing countries – Part 1

[Editor’s note: This post was written by Sue Corbett, Executive Director at the International Network for the Availability of Scientific Publications (INASP), and it was originally published at Practising Development.]

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Evidence-based policies: building what is really possible

[Editor's note: This post was written by José Antonio Ramírez Flores, head of the Office of Planning and Budget of the Peruvian Agency for International Cooperation (APCI, its acronym in Spanish). It is part of a series intended to share results, reflections and what facilitators and participants learned through the development and conduction of the online course “Leaders of change: developing Latin American policymakers' capacity to promote the use of knowledge in policy”.]

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Going beyond "Context matters"

By Dave Winer under CC at flickr.com

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Building a think tank's research agenda: an insight into CSTEP's experience

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

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Why African Think Tanks Should Lead the Youth Migration Policy Debate

[Editor's note: This post was written by Diakalia Sanogo and Julie Lafrance, Senior Program Specialists at the Think Tank Initiative.]

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International Online Conference: Insights into Think Tanks (August – October 2015)

[Editor's Note: This post was originally published at On Think Tanks. It introduces the International online conference: Methodologies for Researching Think Tanks, a series of webinars to be held between August and October 2015. You can use this hashtag to address the issue in social media: #studyingthinktanks.]

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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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IDRC Upcoming Conference: ‘The Transformation of Research in the South: policies and outcomes’

[Editor’s note: This post was written by David O'Brien, Senior Program Specialist for the Technology and Innovation program at the International Development Research Center (IDRC), and introduces the call for papers for the upcoming conference: ‘The Transformation of Research in the South: policies and outcomes’.]

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Seeking for great researchers at think tanks

 [Editor’s note: This post was written by Andrea Ordóñez and Leandro Echt as part of a process of developing an online course targeted to think tankers on research for policy making, supported by the Think Tank Fund and the Think Tank Initiative.]

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Bridging frameworkers and circlers: new ways of thinking about policy and evidence?

By olsen.skip under CC at flickr.com

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The role of evidence in policy making: using external information, broadening the contributions’ horizons

Courtesy of phanlop88 at www.freedigitalphotos.com

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The role of evidence in policy making: using internal information, the State as a generator of evidence

By Tontographer en flickr.com under CC license

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Fostering the use of evaluation and research in policy making: the Presidency's Department of Planning, M&E in South Africa.

[Editor's note: This post was written by Ian Goldman, Head of Evaluation and Research at Department of Planning, Monitoring and Evaluation of the Presidency of South Africa.]

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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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Stocktaking on Research Quality at the Think Tank Initiative Exchange

Two weeks ago the TTIX2015 took place in Istanbul and some initial reactions have already emerged. Enrique Mendizabal did an exercise of finding “the elephants in the rooms”, Vanesa Weyrauch reflects on the exchange itself and what it means for innovation among think tanks and policy makers, and  Richard Darlington wrote postcards, bringing an outsiders perspective on the TTIX.  I want to do something a bit different.

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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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From jugglers to innovators: some ideas about the potential of the TTI Exchange 2015

Day 1 of the Think Tank Exchange 2015 has set the scene for a very promising exchange and refinement of ideas on how to grapple with relevant challenges shared by those interested in a more fruitful interaction between research and policy.

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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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The role of evidence in public policies: informing means or ends?

[Editor's note: This post is the sixth of a series produced by Vanesa Weyrauch and Leandro Echt from Politics&Ideas to share what we learn through the development and conduction of an online course targeted to policymakers in Latin America on the use of research in policy.]

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Conceptual Framework No. 4: Working Hypothesis

[Editor's note: This post is part of a series devoted to tools and frameworks for researchers to plan better projects right from the start. Please read the first post for the general outline of the series.]

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Embracing complexity: welcome to our land!

By Michael Heiss under CC license

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The challenges facing southern researchers in the Arab world

[Editor's note: This post has previously been published at GDNet blog. GDNet has been a DFID-funded programme run by the Cairo team of the Global Development Network, which has recently been closed. Since 2001, GDNet aimed to help researchers from developing and transitioning countries and support their work to have a greater global impact. P&I itself received GDNet supports in its origins. Thus, we would like to contribute to keeping alive GDNet's legacy by republishing some interesting reflections shared by its team and different guests authors.]

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Networking through the South: interview to Vera Schattan Pereira Coelho, member of the Collaboration for Research on Democracy Network

[Editor’s note: The Collaboration for Research on Democracy (CORD) is a network of universities, think tanks, NGOs, independent researchers and practitioners mostly from the global south. Their mission is to contribute to inclusive citizenship and democratic governance through collaborative and applied research on questions of citizenship in democratic governance.]

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Conceptual Framework No. 3: The formal hypothesis

[Editor's note: This post is part of a series devoted to tools and frameworks for researchers to plan better projects right from the start.  Read the first blog for an introduction to conceptual frameworks]

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Conceptual Framework No.2: Categories

[Editor's note: This post is part of a series devoted to tools and frameworks for researchers to plan better projects right from the start.  Read the first blog for an introduction to conceptual frameworks]

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Bringing analysis, evidence and new ideas on social development to the UN system: an interview with Jenifer Freedman, Head of Communications at UNRISD

In the Palais des Nations, the United Nations office in Geneva, there is room for UNRISD, a research institute focused on social development that aims to bring cutting-edge ideas “to the highest levels” of the multilateral diplomatic system. This is the first of two posts based on a conversation with Jenifer Freedman, who leads UNRISD’s Communications & Outreach team.

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Are “South-South” interactions geographically restricted?

[Editor's note: This post has previously been published at GDNet blog. GDNet has been a DFID-funded programme run by the Cairo team of the Global Development Network, which has recently been closed. Since 2001, GDNet aimed to help researchers from developing and transitioning countries and support their work to have a greater global impact. P&I itself received GDNet supports in its origins. Thus, we would like to contribute to keeping alive GDNet's legacy by republishing some interesting reflections shared by its team and different guests authors.]

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Conceptual Framework No.1: The Practical Ideal Type

[Editor's note: This post is part of a series devoted to tools and frameworks for researchers to plan better projects right from the start.  Read the first blog for an introduction to conceptual frameworks]

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Defining a research agenda. Balancing internal and external influences

[Editor's Note: This post originally appeared at INASP's newsletter 2012. It is also available in Spanish at VIPPAL.]

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How to link theory and practice for relevant research

[Editor's note: This post is part of a series devoted to tools and frameworks for researchers to plan better projects right from the start.]

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Don’t waste efforts: how to make social innovations produce robust (knowledge and) evidence

[Editor's Note: This post has been written by Wenny Ho, researcher and facilitator based in the Netherlands. This post is based on her article titled "Evidence creation through Knowledge Integration".]

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Imagining a better 2014 (5) - by Julia Pomares

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Imagining a better 2014 (4) - by María Elena Quilodran

[Editor's note: This is the fourth in a series of posts called 'Imagining a better 2014' that brings together reflections from a number of researchers and practitioners on the most important lessons and future challenges for promoting the use of research in policy.

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Imagining a better 2014 (3) - by Andrea Ordoñez

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Imagining a better 2014 (2) - by Raquel Zelaya and the team at ASIES

[Editor's note: This is the second of a series of posts called 'Imagining a better 2014' that will bring together reflections from a number of researchers and practitioners on the most important lessons and future challenges for promoting the use of research in policy.

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Imagining a better 2014 (1) Ramón-Antonio Gutiérrez Palacios

[Editor's note: This is the first of a series of posts called 'Imagining a better 2014' that will bring together reflections from a number of researchers and practitioners on the most important lessons and future challenges for promoting the use of research in policy.

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Protocol for case study writing

[Editor's note: This post introduces a new material produced by Anne Lan K. Candelaria for Politics & Ideas. This case study protocol will be followed by an example of a case study written by the same author, to be published in January 2014.]

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Three worthwhile questions on public philosophies

[Editor’s note: This reflection is based on our paper “Defining problems or providing solutions? The role of ideas in policy debates”. It is part of a series of posts on Ideas and Evidence Based Policy.]

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Defining problems or providing solutions? The role of ideas in policy debates

Today I am sharing a new working paper with you: “Defining problems or providing solutions? The role of ideas in policy debates.” Ideas are a key concept to link research and policy, and theory and practice. Little research, however, is available on what ideas are and how they evolve. To explore the concept of ideas in policy debates, I have chosen two laws that have recently been enacted in Ecuador. The first policy relates to the new law for universities that seeks, on the one hand, to align the universities’ activities with the National Development Plan, and on the other hand, to promote more and better research. The second refers to the law for popular economy that develops a new regulatory framework for small and medium scale financial institutions.

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What is behind the idea of Evidence Based Policy?

In the previous post, I shared Jal Mehta’s framework that can help us take apart an idea into its different dimensions  (I suggest you review it before reading this post). The three dimensions are policy solutions, problem definition and public philosophy. An idea that floats around much of our work is that of evidence-based policy. But what is this idea? Is it a solution or a public philosophy? To what problem does it respond?

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Rethinking ideas - more than just policy solutions

One of the areas of interest of our research agenda are ideas. I agree, conceptualizing ideas, and exploring where they come from, how they evolve, and who appropriates them is essential to understanding how research can influence policy.

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More reflections on transitions in think tanks’ executive direction: FUSADES’ experience

A few weeks ago I shared an article about background profiles and qualities of think tanks’ directors, followed by some reflections about the processes that led the think tanks FEDESARROLLO (Colombia) and CIPPEC (Argentina) to appoint a new Executive Director. In this new post I document and reflect on the experience of the Salvadoran Foundation for Economic and Social Development (FUSADES). One of the main differences is that while the former two transitions were resolved by selecting people already working at the organization, FUSADES’ new executive director came from outside the organization.But he did not come from so far away…

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Knowledge Regimes: A conceptual contribution for the link between research and policy

[Editor’s note: This post is written by Adolfo Garcé from the Institute of Political Science in the Universidad de la República – Uruguay. It shares some preliminary ideas on his upcoming paper that expands the notion of the knowledge regimes.] 

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How to conduct a transition in the Executive Direction? Two experiences from think thanks in Latin America

As I wrote in a previous post, think tank’s directors need to deal with a huge diversity of issues: from budgetary choices, to communicational ones; from organizational engineering to staffing and leadership. Moreover, they are always interacting with a broad range of stakeholders, both at the internal and external “front”: donors, policy makers, political leaders, media, private sector, other colleagues; and the Board and staff.

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Think tanks' executive directors: background, profiles and qualities

Leading a think tank is not an easy task. Usually, these leaders need to make key decisions that involve a huge diversity of issues: from budgetary choices, to communicational ones; from organizational engineering to staff issues. Moreover, they have to deal with a broad range of stakeholders, both at the internal and external “fronts”: donors, policy makers, media, private sector, other colleagues; and the Board and staff.

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Moving our research agenda forward

In the upcoming weeks we will start sharing some of the research currently being carried out as to develop our research agenda.  The objective of these documents is to build on two things: first, on our empirical understanding of the link between politics and ideas and second, our frameworks and models to capture the questions we have outlined in our research agenda.

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Not 'theories of change' but 'theories of how change happens'

Theory of Change has become a buzzword across the development industry. It is a new tool in the toolbox that consultants use for planning, monitoring and evaluation. Not long ago, however, the term was not that well known. Instead, when we used the term we did to refer instead to the theories of how change happens.

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Throwing a rock at Evidence?

Courtesy of thawats at www.freedigitalphoto.net

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Are we really on the driving seat when trying to link research and policy?

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The Topic Guide on Politics and Ideas: Introduction

Evidence based policy has, as the Topic Guide states in its introduction, become a sort of holy grail for policymakers (in the North and the South). If the concept is difficult to fully accept in developed countries with strong professional civil services, the idea would seem, for anyone with any experience working in a developing country, quite simply impossible to put into practice without a suspension of disbelief of significant proportions.

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A new Topic Guide on Politics and Ideas

Our first product is a Topic Guide on Politics and Ideas. We have worked intensely to produce it but we know that we need your help to complete our task. We want this Guide to become an opportunity for collaboration that helps to improve what we have produced so far and the questions that still need to be answered.

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Young voices, big impact, promising future

Engaging youth in research is considered a useful source of knowledge on development challenges since they usually provide fresh perspectives and also an effective way of empowering young participation. Involving the young in research processes is fairly new. Recent years have seen increasing global awareness and acceptance of the need to mobilize the creativity, vision and unique perspectives of young people for the present and future development of communities (UNESCO, empowering youth through national policies). Yet a systematic approach by local authorities is required to generate evidence and enhance a progressive participatory effort of youth throughout countries. Indeed, it is reasonable to include youth as partners in the design, implementation and evaluation of research involving issues that directly affect their future.

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The Topic Guide on Politics and Ideas: useful websites and organizations

Useful websites and organizations  

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The Topic Guide on Politics and Ideas: The monitoring and evaluation of research for influence and impact

The monitoring and evaluation of research influence and impact In this section:

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The Topic Guide on Politics and Ideas: Capacity building

Capacity building In this section:

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The Topic Guide on Politics and Ideas: The Communication of Research

The communication of research In this section:

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The Topic Guide on Politics and Ideas: Research within the Policy Process

Research within the policy process In this section:

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The Topic Guide on Politics and Ideas: Research Agenda and Production

Research agenda and production

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The Topic Guide on Politics and Ideas: Introduction

Introduction ‘Evidence-based policy’ has become something of a holy grail for policymakers intent on formulating pragmatic, effective policies which work on the basis of evidence rather than ideology. In the last decade it has increasingly been seen as both an indicator of and way of attaining ‘good governance’ across the world, and in developing countries in particular. The evidence-based policy agenda has been widely purported by international donors, who view it as a way of building the capacity of governments to formulate and implement pro-poor policies which target poverty reduction and ensure the responsible allocation of resources.

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Topic Guide on Politics & Ideas: Research and policy

This Topic Guide covers a number of topic and issues identified during a process of discussion and debate among the team members and others involved and is part of the Research Agenda for Politics & Ideas. It is presented in sections below and we encourage you to review it and add your views and resources to it. The guide was put together by Emma Broadbent with the support of Andrea Moncada and Leandro Echt and the inputs from Vanesa Weyrauch, Shahira Emara, and Enrique Mendizabal.

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Politics & Ideas: An open research agenda

Creating a research agenda is always an exciting job. On the one hand, we are always seeking for overarching structures and frameworks that can help us to see our work in a more strategic and coherent manner. And on the other hand, inquiry requires flexibility for the unexpected and for surprises along the way. To balance these challenges, we have decided for an open research agenda. This means we will try our best to avoid having an implicit agenda, and instead make ours explicit allowing others to comment on it, correct it and nurture it in the process.

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Social media and open access as a new form of peer review

Peer-reviewing an article is a process used in order to guarantee the quality of the research conducted. However, traditional peer review processes are sometimes considered slow, which stifles innovation, and researchers do not know who is reviewing them as these mostly remain anonymous. According to Thomas Pickard, social media and open access can provide an alternative to peer reviews  by using methods such as comment crowdsourcing, public reviews that include the reviewer’s reputation (determined by peers) to weight the review score.

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Demand, supply and intermediaries: unhelpful labels

Demand, supply and the market

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Reading recommendations: research and policy overview

Are you interested in learning more about the relationship between research and policy? The following studies, also found in the Topic Guide, may be of interest:

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