Approaches to engaged research, which do not just produce academic knowledge, but link with people and groups in society, have long intellectual roots.
In recent years, however, for epistemological, practical and ethical reasons, interest in such approaches has gained ground. At the Institute of Development Studies (IDS) we seek to adopt an ‘engaged excellence’ approach to research.
We have identified four pillars that support engaged excellence: high-quality research; co-construction of knowledge, mobilising impact-orientated evidence; and building enduring partnerships. This introduction interrogates this approach, deepening our understanding of what it means, whilst also acknowledging the challenges which it poses.
It raises questions about who defines what good quality research is; how, why and who we co-construct knowledge with; what counts as impact; and how we build enduring partnerships. It also touches on some of the implications for both researchers themselves and the institutions through which we work.