Thursday, June 11, 2009

Communication: what for who?

This small group of EADI IMWG 2009 meeting explored differences in communication processes related to research, advocacy and policy. Lea Santana of NEIM, Brazil [see also her blip interview] explained how she tries to package information in ways that serves the purpose of advocacy. Academics can communicate with other academics but for politicians you need to re-package information. You need to "translate" the information.

Mike Powell, IKM Emergent Programme, emphasized that not all research is academic. Research is about recording experiences. Lea agreed, a photographic exhibition can be research. Another participant stressed that whether a publication is actually considered academic research depends on in which journal you publish. There are quality standards, peer reviews etc. These quality standards seem to serve to protect, to legitimize.

The type of communication has very much to do with your audience. In development research you have to realize that there are people involved in such research that do not read academic journals, for example the people in developing countries who's life is being researched one way or another. So what do you do to communicate with them? Is not the basic idea of doing development research that it contributes to development? So you have an obligation to share your research in a accessible way.

Maarten Boers concluded that the differences may not seem fundamental particularly when you try to inform public decision-making.

See also Euforic newsfeeds on information, knowledge, communication, and from the IMWG 2009 workshop