Journal Article


New Roles for Communication in Development?

Published on 1 September 2012

The landscape of research communication in development has been undergoing a significant shift in recent years. The very visible emergence of new technologies has been accompanied by other shifts in the politics and business of development knowledge: the understanding of what constitutes “expert knowledge” in development, a growing emphasis on process over product in development research and new understandings of what drives social change and policy influence.

With the rise of participatory and co-constructed communications have come suggestions that we have neglected the rigour and “hard evidence” needed to influence policy. As some have turned back to grassroots forms of communication such as community radio, they face ambivalence from others struggling to see what is new or innovative about such ‘archaic’ approaches. As such we find ourselves at an interesting juncture, one that this Bulletin aims to explore by drawing on the experiences of practitioners, theorists and community intermediaries from a wide range of disciplines.

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Table of contents

Introduction: Is Development Research Communication Coming of Age? Blane Harvey, Tessa Lewin and Catherine Fisher


Deliberation, Dialogue and Debate: Why Researchers need to Engage with Others to Address Complex Issues Ajoy Datta

Stimulating Demand for Research Evidence: What Role for Capacity-building? Kirsty Newman, Catherine Fisher and Louise Shaxson

This Research does not Influence Policy Patta Scott-Villiers

Understanding Context in Learning-centred Approaches to Climate Change Communication Blane Harvey, Liz Carlile, Jonathan Ensor, Ben Garside and Zachary Patterson

Approaches to Development Research Communication Tessa Lewin and Zachary Patterson


Cartographers, Conciliators and Catalysts: Understanding the Communicative Roles of Researchers Nicholas Benequista and Joanna Wheeler

Advances in Knowledge Brokering in the Agricultural Sector: Towards Innovation System Facilitation Laurens Klerkx, Marc Schut, Cees Leeuwis and Catherine Kilelu

Seeing ‘With my Own Eyes’: Strengthening Interactions between Researchers and Schools Alun Davies, Bibi Mbete, Greg Fegan, Sassy Molyneux and Sam Kinyanjui

Passing on the Hot Potato: Lessons from a Policy Brief Experiment Penelope Beynon, Marie Gaarder, Christelle Chapoy and Edoardo Masset


Radio, ICT Convergence and Knowledge Brokerage: Lessons from Sub-Saharan Africa Heather Gilberds and Mary Myers

Changing the financial landscape of Africa: an Unusual Story of Evidence-informed Innovation, Intentional Policy Influence and Private Sector Engagement Simon Batchelor

Reframing Digital Storytelling as Co-creative Lara Worcester

Digital Storytelling in Bangladesh: Experiences, Challenges and Possibilities Samia A. Rahim

Changing Focus: Exploring Images of Women and Empowerment in Egypt Kristina Hallez

Real World: Empowering Representations of Women through Film Tessa Lewin

Emerging Implications of Open and Linked Data for Knowledge Sharing in Development Tim Davies and Duncan Edwards


Tessa Lewin

Research Fellow

Publication details

published by
Lewin, T., Harvey, B. and Page, S.
IDS Bulletin, volume 43, issue 5


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