Research for development

Research for development

Research-for-development (R4D) is tricky. Research methodologies are usually very linear meaning that they typically work in a sequence of steps. Most research aims to generate outputs such as publications, data, and maps.

Unlike research, development seeks outcomes. Development professionals work in a chaotic environment, and while they may use sequential steps in their planning, they usually have to adapt to the context they are working in during implementation.

WLE GREATER MEKONG’S R4D FRAMEWORK HAS BEEN DEVELOPED OVER 13 YEARS OF REGIONAL EXPERIENCE OF WORKING WITH STAKEHOLDERS.


 

So, how do we combine the two worlds of research and development? WLE Greater Mekong working with its partners, has evolved two ways in which change can be delivered.

The first of these approaches relates to ‘traditional research’ which there is a need for as it focuses on things like hydrology, sediments, taxonomy and other biophysical sciences. Often, other types of research builds on traditional research. If traditional research is to yield development outcomes, then its results must be accompanied by strong communications and networking strategies.

The second approach focuses on the ‘target group’, the people (in governments, private sector, NGOs etc) whose work we support and who rely on us for ideas and strategies to improve the ways that they do things. Here, we implement a participatory process that explores the relationship between present-day actions and a desired future. We then introduce research findings into this process that helps the target group create or strengthen the relationship between present and future.

This process builds on the work of our partner institutions, the Mekong Region Futures Institute (MERFI) and Centre de coopération internationale en recherche agronomique pour le développment (CIRAD).