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How Doing Research Evolved

Photo credit: iStock/Nikada

Since its introduction in 2014, the DR program has gone through three phases of development: The pilot phase, the proof-of-concept phase and the scale-up phase.

1. Doing Research Pilot

The Doing Research pilot was the first phase (2014 - 2016), which aimed to characterize, describe, and, whenever possible, measure the most relevant features of the research environment across 11 countries: 
Africa: Cameroon, Côte d’Ivoire, Niger, South Africa
Latin America: Bolivia, Paraguay, Peru
Asia: Bangladesh, Cambodia, India, Indonesia

Covering a diverse sample of countries in very different contexts, and using varied research methodologies, the pilot provided rich qualitative information on the complex nature of research environments. The DR Pilot was implemented by GDN between April 2014 and April 2016 and generously supported by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, Agence Française de Développement (AFD), French Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Development and the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation. 

Find more about the Doing Research Pilot stage | Read their case studies’ reports | Read the Pilot Phase Synthesis | Read independent Evaluation Report.


2. Doing Research Proof of Concept 

In 2017, GDN summarized the 11-country-level studies undertaken in the pilot phase and developed a standard methodology called the  Doing Research Assessment (DRA) to study social science research systems in developing countries. In 2018, GDN decided to root the implementation of the methodology in the work of national institutions interested in the topic, supporting at the same time the emergence of a network of research centres around the Global South. The DRAs in Bolivia, Indonesia, Myanmar and Nigeria were implemented from January 2018 to December 2020, with funding from GDN and IDRC (for Myanmar). GDN ensured that results were locally relevant, actionable and comparable.

Find more about the Doing Research Proof of Concept stage | Read about the Proof-of-Concept kick-off workshop

The DR Assessments in these countries have shown a strong demand for the knowledge the program generates, from the national and the international level.

In Myanmar, GDN has been asked by the Ministry of Education to support the drafting of the next National Education Strategic Policy (2021-30) with regard to research-related priorities, and the National Education Policy Commission requested a national webinar to launch the Myanmar language edition of the 2020 report. GDN is working with two international donors to expand the exercise and replicate it in 2021.

In Indonesia, the National Institute of Sciences (LIPI) invited the DR team to join the social science agenda setting meetings at the national level, and the launch of the Bahasa Indonesia edition of the 2020 report will be an opportunity to engage further players.

In Nigeria, the DR Assessment was launched by the Deputy Minister of Science and Technology, TETFUND and the National Universities Commission.

In Bolivia, the Director of the Centre for the Studies of Social and Economic Realities (CERES) launched the DRA in Cochabamba, Bolivia. The launch, which has been a thought-provoking discussion about Bolivia’s research landscape for social sciences, was also attended by, among others, key social science researchers from Latin American Council of Social Sciences (CLACSO). The production of Spanish edition of the report is expected to keep fuelling the debate and much evidence generation on the topic.

Read the DRA Country Reports (and executive summaries in local language) and watch the webinars where the reports were presented and discussed with external key players.


3. Doing Research Scale-Up

With the standard DRA methodology, GDN is now scaling up the Doing Research program to entire regions or groups of countries (LDCs, fragile countries). This phase started with a DRA in El Salvador (2021) and a preliminary effort to make sense of the state of science and technology in Venezuela (in partnership with IDRC). Find more about the Doing Research Scale-Up stage. Read the Doing Research in Venezuela report (English | Spanish) a preliminary study of the state of the country's research system that draws on interviews and desk research.

Between 2022-2024, the DRA is being implemented in five Francophone Africa countries - Benin, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Chad, and Mali.

To support this work, please write to Daniel Fussy.