The Use of Child Research in International Organisations
Through a series of discussions with those working with children’s programmes in international organisations, the task force intended to determine what research the organisations used and what further research these practitioners found helpful in their planning and programming.
List of Participants:
Gary Melton and Natalie Kaufman (The Institute on Family and Neighborhood Life, Clemson University)
Irene Rizzini (CIESPI).
A major benefit of the project was to assist Childwatch International in developing a collaborative research agenda that would be innovative and designed to meet the needs of international organisations. In addition, the project helped the Key Institutions involved in developing strategies they could use to bring their work to the attention of those who could benefit most from it. The intention was to increase the capacity of the Childwatch International Research Network through its members and to conduct collaborative research projects and effectively disseminate the results to the staff of international organisations.
The project assessed whether decision-makers were actually getting and using a significant portion of the results of scholarly research that would be relevant for their work. Although some research was conducted on how national institutions gather and use information in agenda-setting and decision-making, there wasn't such comprehensive research about international organisations. There were distinct differences between international and national institutions, which would affect the applicability of national studies to international settings. A conclusion was that the process of gathering information and selecting specific sources for regular consultation might have been generalised to some extent. This project determined how the similarities and differences in structure between national and international organisations affected their use of information.
The purpose of the project was to discover what sources of research on children the staff of international organisations actually knew and used in developing their policies and programmes. What research and information did they regularly consult and actually use, and what additional knowledge did they feel would be useful? The findings helped identify what research should be undertaken to respond to the perceived needs of international organisations and to describe how to get the people within international organisations to consider the results of that research.
The task force was developed as a framework for a series of meetings at each of two nodes of activity by international organisations related to children: Washington, DC and Geneva, Switzerland. The invited participants were selected from international organisations based in these cities and the meetings facilitated by the task force. The main objective was to explore how Childwatch International institutions could work with the organisations to provide the information they needed. The project task force prepared an article for publication that reflected how people in international organisations learn about and use research on children. They identified the research that policy-makers believed would be the most useful to their work and presented their conclusions about the most effective methods for getting knowledge into the process of making decisions in international organisations.
Gary Melton, Institute on Family and Neighborhood Life, Clemson University, USA: gmelton [at] clemson.edu
Natalie Kaufman, University of South Carolina, USA: lawk [at] mindspring.com