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Investigating capacity to use evidence

This reflective paper explores the reasons why there is relatively little research examining actual capacity to access, evaluate and use research evidence as a basis of deciding what skills need to be supported, and suggests methodologies that can be used to assess capacity gaps.

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Support for the use of research evidence has been a major feature of international development efforts in recent years. While much attention has been paid to strengthening the supply of research information, there is also a need to ensure that policy makers and other users are able to demand and use research. This has led to many capacity building programmes aimed at improving these skills. There is, however, relatively little research examining actual capacity to access, evaluate and use research evidence as a basis of deciding what skills need to be supported.

This reflective paper explores some reasons for this and suggests that such research is not being carried out simply because researchers are not used to using more objective methodologies to assess capacity. It then discusses some alternative methodologies that can be used to objectively assess capacity gaps.

Further research to understand capacity needs will allow future capacity building efforts to be tailored to actual needs.

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Reports & papers