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Bridging the Gap between Research, Policy and Practice

This thematic group works to improve and understand communication between different stake-holders in the work to improve the lives of children. Bridging research, policy and practice is an overarching theme for the Childwatch International network as a whole.

Its purpose is to investigate and draw lessons from successful approaches to "bridging the gap" between research and policy, to understand the challenges and potential responses to these challenges in pursuing this goal, and to explore common and divergent experience in harnessing research to inform policy and practice affecting children cross-nationally.

It explores such questions as: What is the best way to structure research and dissemination activities to foster effective knowledge utilization that informs policy and practice for children? What are the critical dimensions of activity that characterize successful practice? Who are the "players" that need to be engaged in this process, and in what ways? What are the central tensions, and how are they best negotiated? To what extent are the strategies, opportunities, and constraints for successfully bridging the gap between research and policy context specific, and in what ways?

The group consists of researchers from the Key Institutions in USA (Chapin Hall, University of Chicago), Ireland, South Africa (Children’s Institute), India, Israel as well as researchers from other institutions (Dartington Social Research Unit (UK), Queen’s University Belfast (UK) and Stirling University (UK).

Network meetings took place in Chicago, August 2006; Dublin, December 2006 and Belfast, March 2008. The group has also held meeting via conference calls in 2006 and several in 2007.

Seminars and workshops included presenting papers and findings from the research that culminated in the book Research for Action (2007).

The members of the thematic group also engaged with other researchers, policymakers, funders, and practitioners in international forums around these issues. They included:
• Paper presented at Tata Institute of the Social Science, India, March 2007
• A full-day seminar and workshop seminar in Beijing, April 2007, connected with the Childwatch board meeting and meeting of the Asian regional network
• Paper presented at Closing the Loop: Connecting Child Care Research, Policy and Practice, Queens University Belfast, December 2007
• Keynote paper/panel at UNICEF Conference, Child Poverty and Disparities: Public Policies for Social Justice, Cairo, Egypt, January 2009
• Roundtable session at Child Rights at a Crossroads conference, Addis Ababa, November/December 2009

List of participants

Caribbean Child Development Centre, School of Continuing Studies, University of The West Indies, Jamaica

Center for Research on Childhood (CIESPI), Pontificia Universidade Catolica do Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

Child and Youth Training Programme, University of the Western Cape, South Africa

Child Research Unit, Center for Development in Primary Health Care, Al Quds University, Palestinian Territories

Children’s Institute, University of Cape Town, South Africa

The Children’s Research Centre, Trinity College Dublin, Ireland

The Engelberg Center for Children and Youth, Meyers-JDC Brookdale Institute, Israel

Institute for Child Care Research, Queen’s University Belfast, United Kingdom

The International Center for Education and Human Development (CINDE), Colombia

Tata Institute of Social Sciences, India

KeKi Belgium

Contact information

Rob Chaskin, Chapin Hall Centre for Children, University of Chicago - rchaskin [at]


2008 Workplan Activities


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Published Sep. 19, 2008 11:35 AM - Last modified Nov. 4, 2015 5:06 PM