Evidence Matters and so does blogging
Why does 3ie have a blog site? And why should 3ie staff spend their time writing blogs?
Although we are launching this newly redesigned blog site this week, 3ie staff have been blogging for some time now, covering topics as diverse as vampires in Africa, why the UK police are right to not investigate crimes and why systematic reviews are not sausages. Behind these provocative titles lie serious blogs that explore all that we need to do to move towards evidence-based policymaking.
Our role as a grant maker has given our staff a unique and well informed view on the best ways to evaluate the impact of development interventions, and to promote the use of evidence in policy and practice.
3ie is not just a grant-making institution. As a knowledge broker, we promote theory-based, and policy-relevant impact evaluations and systematic reviews. Blogs are an increasingly important way that 3ie can be communicating its messages more widely. Our methods blogs have covered the importance of mixed methods and participatory approaches, various perspectives on causal chain analysis (see here and here), and how to promote randomised control trials effectively.
As the producer of global public goods, such as the evidence database, registry and replication studies, there is a lot that 3ie can contribute to the international evidence infrastructure. Our emphasis on quality drives us to promote high standards in the conduct of research, including ethical research practice.
Given all the areas of work we are involved in, there is a lot that 3ie staff can and should say. 3ie has a small, dedicated staff that is fully committed to its vision and mission, in part because of the organisation’s participatory management style that promotes staff involvement in developing 3ie’s strategy and policies.
We are keen on promoting conversations and debates with the research and policymaker communities, as well as other key policy influencers, about the production and use of evidence, and would very much want to know how 3ie can play a more supportive role.
Not least, for an evidence-based policymaking agency, we did check on what evidence there is to show the benefits of blogging. David McKenzie and Berk Özler use a range of rigorous methods to find that bloggers are better known than non-bloggers, the papers they blog about get more downloads, and – most importantly for us – bloggers can help change opinions about the subject of their piece.
I look forward to the debates which 3ie will continue to bring to our growing and relevant field of evidence-based development and welcome your comments.