Assessing the policy influence of research: a case study of governance research in Viet Nam

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As development processes become ever more complex, there is a growing demand for knowledge products that provide the necessary information to implement evidence-based policy change. However, the practice of monitoring the impact of knowledge products, often produced by international donors, is relatively new.

This Background Note describes a case study of one attempt to assess the impact of a knowledge product: The Vietnam Development Report 2010 (VDR 2010). It provides an overview of the various types of monitoring and evaluation tools to assess the policy influence of research outputs and describes which tools and processes were used in the assessment of the VDR 2010.

Viet Nam has seen sustained economic growth and rapid reductions in poverty since the early 1990s. Viet Nam now strives to become a modern industrialised country by 2020, which will require significant reforms to run a country that will have greater global economic integration and a more complex, knowledge-based economy. The Government aims to establish modern and accountable institutions to manage and sustain the reform process.

The VDR 2010 represents a joint perspective from the donor community on progress and prospects for Viet Nam’s development of modern and accountable institutions.

The paper concludes by setting out some specific lessons that have been learnt from the assessment.

Specific lessons include:

  • Policy influence assessment should built into the plan for producing and communicating research output.
  • A need to develop a communications strategy that overcomes Pariser’s ‘filter bubble effect’ and ensures dissemination of research output reaches the target audience.
  • Citation analysis is time intensive and should be seen as a complement to qualitative analysis of uptake and influence.
  • Fostering a culture of evidence-based policy-making requires the development of a critical mass, both from the supply and the demand side of policy research.

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