A lot of the interest in the Locating Power of In-between conference has been from researchers excited by the opportunity to talk about what they can do to ensure their research can better influence policy and practice. This is an important area, one that undoubtedly will be covered at the conference, however it is not the focus of the conference.
Instead the focus will be people and organisations that, deliberately and on an ongoing basis, seek to improve connections between multiple sources of research and people involved in policy and practice. This “research intermediary” role is played in many different ways, from aggregation and organisation of research in databases to the creation of spaces in which decision makers can engage with a plurality of researchers and research findings. Many playing it are also researchers or research organisations but the nature of this particular role is different – and it is this that will be the focus of the conference.
Some researchers say that when they are referencing multiple pieces of research, drawing them together, analysing them and communicating them, that they are playing a brokering or intermediary role. In such cases the conceptual boundary between a literature review and some intermediary work is slim or non-existent. Others argue that if researchers are doing their influencing work effectively that there is no need for intermediaries.
But this conference will explore the hypothesis that there are differences in the roles, different values, practices, considerations and challenges and that this role does have a contribution to make even if researchers are communicating effectively. These are some of the reasons why the organisers feel that this “in-between” role is worth of focus. These ideas and hypotheses will be presented at the conference in the session ‘How research brokers and intermediaries contribute to evidence based pro-poor policy making: framing the debate’.
Agree, disagree, want to know more?? Please comment on this post.
Catherine Fisher, IDS