In Nairobi with the AERC: How to approach policy audiences

GDN AERC Nairobi DEcember 2013 103CommsConsult has worked with GDNet and Euforic Services for nearly four years to deliver a suite of policy engagement workshops for Africa Economic Research Consortium (AERC) researchers. Currently in Nairobi, the team met a new cadre of African economics researchers from ten countries. Day One saw three policymakers drawn from Kenya and the Ivory Coast talk about the challenges for policymakers of both accessing and using research evidence. It made us think…

One of the outcomes of the session was a checklist of things researchers need to ask themselves before they approach policy audiences with their findings.



1. Are your findings new? If not, how do they add depth, range or substance to what is already known?

2. Does it challenge prevailing thinking and dominant narratives or does it reinforce and nuance existing thinking?

3. Who needs to know?

4. Who needs to act (and are they different actors?)

5. To what extent are they looking for research evidence (or what is their appetite and capability to use research evidence)?

6. How does the chosen audience access information?

7. Does your research fill a knowledge gap (important but not necessarily policy-relevant)?

8. Are the recommendations practical? are they implementable?

9. Do they have resonance with the issues that policymakers are worried about?

10. Does the research process itself include attempts to engage and communicate with your intended audiences?


And that’s only Day One! We look forward to the learning to come during the next two days! We’re tweeting @CommsConsultLtd – so keep in touch!

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