Data visualisation: Contributions to evidence-based decision-making


The ultimate goal of knowledge intermediaries such as SciDev.Net is to improve development outcomes by enhancing the application of robust research evidence to policy and practice. This goal is premised on the assumption that policies and practices that are informed by evidence are more effective at reducing poverty, enhancing wellbeing and stimulating sustainable economic growth. While it is clear that research uptake is not a homogenous process, there is a large body of literature around ‘sense making’, which seeks to shed light on the processes by which users select research, extract information and transform that information into action (see for example Russell et al. n.d.; Abraham et al. n.d.; DFID forthcoming). Within this literature, various stages or steps towards the application of evidence to policy and practice can be identified. These stages include selection, engagement and uptake (cf. Wang 1998; DFID forthcoming). While other stages – such as external checking and validation – can be identified, the following section focuses on these three stages as they are fundamental to the application of research to policy and practice and can be influenced by those who produce or publish research.

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