Building Research Capacity for Systematic Reviews
Technology can be a crucial catalyst for improving people's lives in the developing world. There is a growing body of knowledge on the topic, but it is yet to be fully synthesized. The Sri Lankan-based think tank, LIRNEasia is addressing this gap, summarizing the best available primary research on digital technology and development. The goal is to have a central bank of evidence to help practitioners and policymakers, and to inform future research. This project aims to build skills and knowledge among Communication Policy Research Community members in Asia and Africa (CPRsouth and CPR Africa) to: -produce four systematic reviews; -share their findings; and, -consolidate knowledge on digital technologies' role in development policy questions. Systematic reviews are used to appraise relevant research and synthesize existing evidence. The health sciences field uses them widely to inform studies and evaluate research findings' relevance to public health policy. These reviews follow a rigorous methodology, developed by the international research network, the Campbell Collaboration. The network strives to improve the methods used to ensure that studies follow appropriate research protocols. This helps consistently inform practice and policy decisions. There is, however, a shortage of reviews in the digital technologies and development field. As governments, civil society, and donor agencies continue to be actively involved in information and communication technology (ICT) initiatives, consolidating knowledge is essential. LIRNEasia will follow the Campbell Collaboration's protocols and build skills in the communication policy research community to conduct reviews. The reviews will assess and consolidate knowledge on key development questions, including the: -impact of mobile money on the poor; -link between ICTs and education outcomes; -effects of increased access and use of ICTs on small and micro enterprises; -effects of ICTs on market efficiencies in the agriculture sector, and, -efficiency of telecommunication reforms in low- and middle-income countries.
Building research capacity for systematic reviews in the Asian and African communication policy research communities
The project consisted of three components; research, capacity building and dissemination. The research component consisted of conducting systematic reviews (SRs) on topics related to development. The capacity-building component was aimed at training a select group of mid-level and senior policy intellectuals on how to conduct SRs. The dissemination component communicated the results to a larger group of policy intellectuals through events including the Communications Policy Research South (CPRsouth) conference and other events, making use of policy windows where appropriate.