Think tank leaders from Asia, Africa, Europe learn research methods in India

Research methods class

In order for think tanks to generate rigorous studies and shape the policy discussions in their countries, they need to learn how to use the most meticulous research methods. The Centre for Public Policy Research (CPPR), an Atlas Network partner based in India, has worked with Atlas Leadership Academy (ALA) since 2012 to cultivate 49 policy leaders from 26 countries. This year, the fifth iteration of the CPPR-ALA Public Policy Research Methods School took place from April 30 to May 15 in Kochi, India.

Participants in the 2016 CPPR-ALA Public Policy Research Methods School get to know each other during the orientation. Pictured: Sarwagya Raj Pandey, of Bikalpa, an Alternative, in Nepal; Hizkia Respatiadi, of Center for Indonesian Policy Studies (CIPS) in Indonesia; Dovilė Sujetaitė, of Lithuanian Free Market Institute in Lithuania; and Polina Kotuleva, of Central Asia Free Market Institute (CAFMI) in Kyrgyzstan.

“At our institution, we have registered a number of successes in promotion of free markets and libertarian ideas,” said Peter Yakobe founder and executive director of Center For Free Market Enterprise (CFME), an Atlas Network partner based in Malawi. “However, we thought it wise to switch from an events think tank to a research-based think tank. During this transition, I have been looking for an institution where I can get full training in public policy research so that we can be successful in conducting research at CFME. My participation at the public research methods school 2016 made this dream come true, as I have learnt research design, research methodology, data collection and analysis, plus many other research areas. I believe this will make us successful in our research projects in Malawi."

Participants listen to a lecture on research methods and data analysis.

Participants in this year’s CPPR-ALA Public Policy Research Methods School spent 14 days of intensive training in which they were challenged to develop their research agenda, conduct field research, draft policy papers, and present their findings in groups. This year, the training event brought together 11 leaders from think tanks representing 10 countries across Asia, Africa, and Europe.

CPPR President Dr. D. Dhanuraj and Centre for Civil Society (CCS) President Dr. Parth J. Shah teaching a lecture on think tank policy research.

“The school is very intense yet informative,” said Ceren Ozcevik, with Atlas Network partner Association for Liberal Thinking in Turkey. “Especially the attention of the lecturers, their effort should be appreciated. I have improved so many skills, we could write a report in a night, even. Without those intense courses and group work, it would not be possible. Thank you, CPPR and Atlas Network, for this great opportunity.”

Participants design a research plan and questionnaire for field research in study group. Pictured: Polina Kotuleva, of Central Asia Free Market Institute (CAFMI) in Kyrgyzstan; Sajad S Santhosh, of CCS in India; and Hizkia Respatiadi, of CIPS in Indonesia.

Graduates of this year’s advance training in public policy and research methods participated in sessions on topics essential to conducting and releasing quality research, including quantitative and qualitative research methods, policy writing, and the evaluation of policy frameworks and impact.

Participants prepare the rangoli flower as a traditional ceremony for the cultural night activities.

“In Slovenia, we do not have the opportunity to get this kind of education in the field of public policy,” said Maruša Pozvek, of Taxpayers Association Slovenia. “Participation in this course helped me learn various policy research methods, how to write policy briefs, and how to create the most persuasive arguments before lawmakers. I developed skills in research and policy making and learned the art of policy making. I gained in-depth knowledge about diverse aspects of policy research.”

Sajad S Santhosh, of CCS in India, conducts an interview with a local farmer during a field survey.

Laura Liu, economic and trade policy advisor with Atlas Network, poses with program participants during group work. Pictured: Peter Yakobe, of CFME in Malawi; Sarwagya Raj Pandey, with Bikalpa, an Alternative, in Nepal; Ashini Samarasinghe, of Advocata Institute in Sri Lanka; Maruša Pozvek, of Taxpayers Association Slovenia; and Laura Liu, of Atlas Network.

Olumayowa Okediran, with Students for Liberty in Nigeria, during a presentation about the policy challenges faced by his country Nigeria, the largest economy in Africa.