Tag: research

What is the evidence for evidence-based policy making? Pretty thin, actually.

A recent conference in Nigeria considered the evidence that evidence-based policy-making actually, you know, exists. The conference report sets out its theory of change in a handy diagram – the major conference sessions are indicated in boxes. Conclusion? ‘There is a shortage of evidence on policy makers’ actual capacity to use research evidence and there […]

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Book Review: Knowledge, Policy and Power in International Development: A Practical Guide

This review appears in the Evidence and Policy journal, where it is now available free online (after I protested about the scandalous, rip-off $30 they were charging). Or you can just read it here. Note to self: in future, I will not write anything for journals that are not open access (thanks to Owen Barder for that suggestion). […]

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Do’s and don’ts on research -> policy and the state of Development Studies in Ireland

Spent a couple of enjoyable if tiring days in Ireland last week (they always look after visitors well….). I was there to speak to Ireland’s Development Studies Association on “What’s changed in development in the last five years, and how do we respond?” (here’s the powerpoint). It coincided with the first copies of the new […]

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Can theories of change help researchers (or their funders) have more impact?

Got dragged into DFID this week for yet another session on theories of change. This one was organized by the DFID-funded Research for Development (R4D) project (sorry, ‘portal’). A lot of my previous comments on such sessions apply – in DFID the theories of change agenda seems rather dominated by evaluation and planning (‘logframes on […]

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How can we get better results from working with consultants?

OK this is a bit internal, but I thought it was interesting. We had a great 3 day session in Oxford last week with our rapidly expanding Global Research Team (see right – the prominent fella in the front is Martin Walsh, who’s our Global Research Adviser and your best point of contact if you […]

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Do research funders have to chose between rigour, innovation and impact?

Another day, another committee discussing funding for development research (again, no details, sorry). This one produced a really interesting conundrum, perhaps even a trilemma, that suggests it may be impossible to simultaneously achieve three ‘Good Things’ sought by research funders: innovation, rigour and policy impact. First, rigour: Western research funders do their level best to […]

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How to write winning research funding applications

Recently I’ve been involved in some fascinating exercises in allocating large dollops of institutional funds for research (can’t give any more details, sorry). This has involved reviewing and discussing dozens of applications from different academics. Here’s a quick download of what I learned about the art of writing winning applications: Mixed methods rock: Quants and […]

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Anyone want my job? Oxfam’s looking for a new Head of Research

So here’s the deal. After seven happy years in charge of Oxfam’s policy research team, I’m moving sideways to take up a new post as senior strategic adviser (though I personally prefer my colleague John Magrath’s suggestion of ‘chief opinionator’) and we’re looking for a new head of research. Here’s the blurb from the ad […]

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How can research funders work better with international NGOs like Oxfam?

I spoke recently to a meeting of the UK Collaborative on Development Sciences. It’s a great initiative, bringing together 13 UK funders and stakeholders with an interest in international development research, but is ‘collaborative’ really a noun? Anyway, the topic was how research funders (mainly state funded) can link up more effectively with large INGOs […]

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What development issues do we need more research on?

Every development research paper I ever absent-mindedly skim pore over with fascination seems to end with NMR (needs more research) – a blatant piece of self-justification, but usually justified (anyone got any candidates for areas where we need less research? Anything involving cross country regressions or ‘discourse analysis’ perhaps?) But research on what? Research funders […]

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Should we make our stuff longer and more complicated?

The ivory tower fights back. Over on the Overseas Development Institute blog, Enrique Mendizabal is having a moment of self doubt. As head of the ODI’s excellent Research and Policy in Development (RAPID) programme, Enrique usually tells researchers that if they want to have any influence on policy makers they need to KISS (Keep it […]

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Ford v Toyota – is it time to change the way we do research for development?

I took part in a conference on fragile states last week. Because it was held under Chatham House rules, I can’t say much about it, (except for the excellent on-the-record presentation by Tom Carothers of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, which I blogged on at the time), but it got me thinking about a […]

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