Monthly Archives: August 2012

Library websites as facilitators of research
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Kim Pyle recently completed an 8 week internship at INASP assessing library websites of African Universities. Global development is a huge topic. And for a recent graduate wanting to get involved, it’s also a very daunting one. So many organisations working in so many different areas – how do you decide where to put your time and energy to make the most difference?  When I came across INASP and the work that it does supporting development through research communication, I thought I had managed to narrow the field. However, after eight weeks as an INASP intern, I can definitely say that my view of development has broadened rather than narrowed.

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What does ‘Capacity Building’ really mean?
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Jonathan Harle is Programmes Manager (Research Capacity) at the Association of Commonwealth Universities A few weeks back, Jonathan Tanner of ODI offered some important observations about the way we talk about development.  His plea is that we use the word ‘development’ less (‘it is too easy to hide behind the word ‘development’… it is too easily misunderstood, it doesn’t always mean the same thing…’), to ‘be more precise about the work we do’ and to ‘junk the jargon’. His thrust is that we need to get better at being much clearer about what we mean – not simply use ‘development’ as a catch all which disguises more than it explains. We need to do this not only so those outside the sector can understand but also so we can be clearer amongst ourselves.

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What caught our eye this week
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While Kirsty Newman has now moved on from INASP, she is still telling us what we need to hear. ‘Fighting the RCT bogeyman’ is a recent post on her blog Kirstyevidence. This discusses the often unproductive debate around randomised controlled trials (RCTs) and the possible (desirable) combination of rigorous quantitative methodologies and qualitative observation. The blog is one to watch. Speaking of which, it seems the Guardian has been making a frequent appearance in this little round up recently. Although this week’s is something of an ‘oldie but a goodie’. Jonathan Tanner’s ‘Talk Point: Should we change the way we talk about development?’ urges us to dump the development jargon and speak more plainly. There are some good points and interesting comments. Pete Guest’s article in Wired, ‘In search of Africa’s Einstein’, looks at Neil Turok’s plan to invest in higher education institutions in Africa. Also worth checking out is the … Continue reading

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What caught our eye last week
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An agreement, a promise, a case study and some recommendations make up our round-up of some of the most interesting links we encountered over the past week.

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Are webinars the way forward?
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If you are working globally and looking for a different way to engage stakeholders, webinars are becoming increasingly common. The attractions are many – not least the possibilities of hosting scalable, multi-country training sessions or meetings in the most cost-effective way possible.

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What caught our eye this week
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A little bit later than usual (but not for lack of interesting information to share), we’ve pulled together some interesting links this week ranging from an article on Senegal’s Parity Law to questioning the need for new journals. Souleymane Faye’s article Senegal: Breakthrough for women in Lower House looks at the Parity Law following a record number of women sworn in as legislators on Monday. The law requires all 24 parties and coalitions to put forward equal numbers of men and women on their candidate lists for their National Assembly. Online Research Tools is a comprehensive white paper URL Dataset Link Compilation. Compiled by  Marcus P. Zillman, M.S., A.M.H.A., this is an “alphabetically listed URL Datasets of thousands of online research tools”. As DFID’s new open access policy is rolled out, the International Development Secretary Andrew Mitchell explains that researchers will be funded only if open access is guaranteed. See Research: Open access to boost … Continue reading

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