“Research skills for policy and development. How to find out fast” edited by A. Thomas and G. Mohan

I come back from time to time to this book when projects touch upon policy and public action. The book “is aimed at development managers and others who are involved in policy investigation” states its Introduction. In project management, I found it a useful resource when we need to gather information in project design; or we need to learn about stakeholders and their agenda in policy making contexts.

The book is both very informative and an invitation to reflect. It offers tips and lessons learned for example in avoiding pitfalls in research. It covers “thinking with documents” and “thinking with people” for a participative approach. A number of tools such as structured surveys and semi-structured interviews as well as the importance of the subjective and personal are presented.

The book also covers how to bring in data and combine it with qualitative information. Personal integrity and effectiveness in research are brought in as topics of academic debate in the challenge of “trying not to get it wrong”.

In sum, if you are looking at how to inform the public policy-making process and how to communicate the results the book will serve you well both in an policy research and project context.

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