Research methods

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    Probing for Proof, Plausibility, Principle and Possibility: A New Approach to Assessing Evidence in a Systematic Evidence Review

Probing for Proof, Plausibility, Principle and Possibility: A New Approach to Assessing Evidence in a Systematic Evidence Review

Anouk Rigterink and Mareike Schomerus’ latest journal paper proposes a new approach to assessing evidence during a systematic evidence review aiming to inform international development policy. Drawing lessons from a number of social science systematic evidence reviews, the article identifies how the method’s limiting perspective on evidence (including the exclusive focus on ‘gold standard’ empirical information) has serious disadvantages for […]

Policy to Research to Policy in Difficult Places

This post by Alex de Waal is a contribution to Humanity’s online symposium on the changing nature of knowledge production in fragile states. There’s a commendable search for rigor in social science. But there’s also an illusion that numbers ipso facto represent rigor, and that sophisticated mathematical analysis of the social scientific datasets can expand the realm of explanatory possibilities. […]

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    Evidence Based Policy or Policy Based Evidence? Supply and Demand for Data in a Donor Dominant World

Evidence Based Policy or Policy Based Evidence? Supply and Demand for Data in a Donor Dominant World

This post by Morten Jerven is a contribution to Humanity’s online symposium on the changing nature of knowledge production in fragile states. In 2010 I was doing research for Poor Numbers: How we are misled by African development statistics and what to do about it. I was In Lusaka, Zambia on a Wednesday afternoon, and was having a free and […]

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    Beyond the Quest for “Policy Implications”: Alternative Options for Applied Development Researchers

Beyond the Quest for “Policy Implications”: Alternative Options for Applied Development Researchers

This post by Michael Woolcock is a contribution to Humanity’s online symposium on the changing nature of knowledge production in fragile states. My nomination for development’s ‘Most Insightful, Least Cited’ paper is Ariel Heryanto’s “The development of ‘development.’”[1] Originally written in Indonesian in the mid-1980s, Heryanto’s gem been cited a mere 79 times (according to Google Scholar), even in its […]

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    Turning the Gaze on Ourselves: Acknowledging the Political Economy of Development Research

Turning the Gaze on Ourselves: Acknowledging the Political Economy of Development Research

This post by Lisa Denney and Pilar Domingo is a contribution to an online symposium on the changing nature of knowledge production in fragile states. Be sure to read other entries, beginning with Deval Desai and Rebecca Tapscott‘s piece. While researchers (ourselves included) now consistently underline the importance of understanding the political economy of developing countries and donors that support them in […]

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    Customary Land, Public Authorities and the Reform Agenda: The Background to Three Reports from northern Uganda

Customary Land, Public Authorities and the Reform Agenda: The Background to Three Reports from northern Uganda

Julian Hopwood overviews three JSRP publications on land in northern Uganda, and suggests that useful policy interventions should acknowledge the expertise of customary actors at the local level. Ambrena Manji has argued that the progressive land reform of post-independence Africa, often involving redistribution, is now rare. In its place we find land law reform, perceived by its promoters as a […]

Practice Without Evidence: interrogating conflict resolution approaches and assumptions

By Tatiana Carayannis, Vesna Bojicic-Dzelilovic, Nathaniel Olin, Anouk Rigterink and Mareike Schomerus What is the evidence that existing approaches to the resolution of violent conflict have achieved their intended effects to improve the lives of conflict-affected populations? Violent conflict is one of the greatest challenges to development. Two decades of concentrated interventions to mediate, end, or transform violent conflict have […]

Who researches the researchers?

In a standard class on research methods, you will learn about biases that the researcher can introduce into the research. Researchers, we are taught, sometimes unconsciously influence respondents to give answers that make for results that are convenient to them. At the same time, respondents may give different answers to a question depending on the age, gender, ethnicity or […]