Action Research Project brings advocates together to improve research in international development

Topics Evidence-based practice | Evidence-based policy | Research and evaluation methods

‘Enhancing Research Use in International Development’ is a collaborative undertaking that will bring together diverse stakeholders interested in improving research-policy-practice links in international development. The project aims to foster changed behaviours among development research commissioners, producers, brokers and users by unpacking the organisational drivers, incentives and ways of working that contribute to, or inhibit, the use of research in development policy or practice.

The project will be undertaken through an action research approach, involving facilitated workshops and ongoing mentoring of participating organisations to investigate their own organisational environment with a view to improving the use of research and evidence. The project is being implemented by the Institute for Human Security and Social Change at La Trobe University (the Institute) and Praxis Consultants, together constituting the facilitation team.

Research advocates have been drawn from across the international development sector. Participating organisations identified three individual research advocates (at middle to senior levels of the organisation)to work together, identify or design, and implement action research initiatives to address policy-practice-relevant research.

Participating organisations include:

  • Abt Associates
  • Cardno
  • Central Queensland University
  • Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade
  • DT Global
  • Fred Hollows Foundation
  • Humanitarian Advisory Group
  • International Women’s Development Agency
  • Oxfam Australia
  • Plan International Australia
  • Secretariat of the Pacific Community
  • University of New South Wales
  • University of Technology Sydney

The research advocates are being supported by the four-person facilitation team and work with other participating organisations to develop a sense of mutual support, test solutions, and reflect on ‘what worked’ and what did not.

Research advocates attended a one-day workshop in Melbourne on Friday, 4 October 2019.

The workshop provided the opportunity to meet other research advocates and explore the constraints and opportunities for planning research such that it has impact on policy or practice. The research advocates determined the ongoing action reflection and began to receive mentoring support from the facilitation team. A second reflections workshop will be held towards the end of the project in April 2020.

If you would like more information on this project, please contact RDI Network secretariat through the contact us page.