Thursday, July 17, 2008

Ten ingredients help take up development research

In early July, Euforic contributed to a workshop to discuss ways to extend the communication and uptake of development research in Southern Africa. Organized by R4D and DFID, the session helped identify 10 key ingredients for a better take up of research:
  1. Media and policy: Research communicators can rely on journalists to communicate with policy shapers, both by informing public opinion and hence politicians, and by directly briefing the beneficiaries of the research.
  2. Two worlds: Journalists work in the active voice, scientists in the passive; with different vocabularies it is not an easy task to link the two.
  3. Impact: Too few organisations attempt to demonstrate the impact of research communication.
  4. Visibility: Many organizations need to make their invisible research outputs visible, particularly on the web.
  5. The quote: Journalists want personal quotes from contacts. But, there is a danger that celebrity researchers are overused and can make ill-informed comment.
  6. Training: Journalists need support and training to find and report on research, and to support researchers to work with journalists.
  7. The story: Research clearly carries further in the media when there is a human interest story. Some research themes lend themselves to storytelling more than others.
  8. Technologies: While new technologies bring new opportunities to promote research, the classic skills are still required.
  9. Skills sets: The range of actors engaged in research and communication has increased. Technical skills, communication and information management all play a role.
  10. Ownership: Research can be communicated more readily when there is ownership, either by the benefitting community or by policy makers in the country commissioning a national report.
by Chris Addison


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