Communicating Research to Policymakers: Researchers' Experiences
(August 2014) Policymakers and advocates agree that using evidence to inform decisions is essential for good policymaking and program design, given that limited resources require decisionmakers to allocate budgets effectively. Recognizing these issues, funders have invested resources in communicating research findings to inform and empower decisionmakers. But despite
these investments, many researchers continue to encounter challenges in sharing their research
findings with policymakers.
This brief highlights the experiences of four research teams who communicated findings from studies supported under the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation’s Population and Poverty Research Initiative (PopPov). Each research endeavor was unique in its strategic approach, subject matter, policy environment, and outcome. In addition, different PopPov partners funded the grants for
each research study. The United Kingdom’s Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) funded a study of emergency obstetric care in Burkina Faso; and a study of unintended fertility in Karonga, Malawi. The Population Reference Bureau (PRB) awarded research grants for a study of teenage pregnancy and education outcomes in Cape Town, South Africa; and a study of household family planning decisionmaking in Lusaka, Zambia. ESRC required that research teams develop and implement a communication plan, and report on its results, while PRB made no specific research dissemination requirement.
Marlene Lee is program director, Academic Research and Relations, at PRB. Kate Belohlav is a research associate in International Programs at PRB.