Knowledge, policy and power in international development: a practical framework for improving policy

Working and discussion papers
January 2013

This ODI Background Note explains how to incorporate an analysis of the dynamics around knowledge, policy and power (KPP) in order to improve the content, process and inclusivity of policy-making.

Good policy is not generated simply by increasing the amount of research on a particular topic; there are complex issues to navigate to ensure that the best available knowledge is sourced, interpreted and used to further development goals. Understanding how to improve this flow of knowledge is the aim of a guide published by ODI with Policy Press on Knowledge, Policy and Power in International Development.

As our understanding of the way knowledge influences policy has grown, so too has the complexity of the policy arena. International development has come under pressure from donor budgets under the accountability agenda, and an increased emphasis on multiple layers of governance. Models of the policy process have evolved to address this complexity.

This background note illustrates the four-fold framework presented in the book, for analysing the interface between knowledge, policy and practice. It is designed to enable all those who a play a role in shaping the content of policies - policy-makers, researchers, civil society organisations, non-governmental organisations and donors - to better understand and address the complex interaction between knowledge and policy.