Bridging Research and Policy in Development: Evidence and the Change Process

Books or book chapters
January 2005
Julius Court, Ingie Hovland and John Young (eds)

“The link between research and policy has often been assumed rather than investigated systematically. This book … attempts to fill this significant gap by suggesting practical ways in which research findings can lead towards evidence-based pro-poor policies.” -

 Fumihiko Saito, Ryukoku University, Japan.

How can policy-makers best use research, for evidence-based policy-making? How can researchers best use their findings in order to influence policy? How can we improve the interaction between researchers and policy-makers? Despite the substantial funds that go into research on international development and the usual intention that research informs policy change, there has remained surprisingly little systematic understanding regarding the links between research and policy. Our aim is to provide a contribution towards filling this gap in the literature - and to suggest ways that researchers might have a greater impact in efforts to move towards evidence-based pro-poor policy.

This volume presents the first cohesive and consolidated reporting of the work carried out under the Research and Policy in Development (RAPID) programme at the Overseas Development Institute (ODI). The RAPID programme aims to improve the use of research and evidence in development policy and practice through research, advice and debate. The programme has four main themes:

    * The use of evidence in policy identification, development and implementation;

    * Improving communication and information systems for development agencies;

    * How better knowledge management can enhance the impact of development agencies;

    * Promotion and capacity building for evidence-based policy.

The volume particularly draws on a project on "Bridging Research and Policy" funded by the UK Department for International Development (DFID). The specific aim was to improve understanding of research-policy linkages in international development through in-depth analysis of selected case studies. To guide this research, the project completed a literature review and developed a conceptual framework for understanding research-policy links: the 'context, evidence, links' framework. The project then applied the framework to four detailed case studies of specific policy changes: the adoption of the Poverty Reduction Strategy Paper (PRSP) initiative; the impact of the Sphere project on the performance of international humanitarian agencies; the spread of para-professional livestock services in Kenya; and the emergence and adoption of the Sustainable Livelihoods Approach (SLA) in DFID's 1997 White Paper.