South Asia

Organized Panel Session

4 - Good Intentions, Good Research and not so Good Developmental Policies

Friday, July 6
12:10 PM - 1:40 PM
Location: Magnolia, Lower Ground Floor

How research can change and modify developmental policy focus; and not always for the benefit of the community being targeted.

Using data, information and narrative from a qualitative survey-based study of social welfare and protection measures in twenty tea estates of Assam, India, this note explores how research can become an end in itself and shift the developmental policies towards those that are workable for the development "actors" rather than focus on the benefit of the communities. Highlighting examples from the field, the note looks at the relationship between funding, fashion and feasibility and the framing of the research questions. It further argues, using this specific study as an example that, good researchers tend to focus on producing results and conclusions that can be defended with evidence. This involves narrowing down the focus and excluding a lot of observations and serendipitous learnings. Also as research nears its end, its aims may also shift from the benefit of the community to publishing a good and timely report.

In the tea estate study, every researcher -the field worker, research designer, consultants and the support personnel from the engaged University and the International Developmental Agency worked with the best intentions and ethics to collect accurate data, analyze it and produce a readable and actionable report. But major chunks of information that actually highlighted the problems being faced by the tea estate workers were ignored. And the developmental policies being framed, based on this report will continue to ignore them and maybe not have the desired effect. The note is open-ended as it tries to find ways to better integrate scientific research and developmental policies.

Rakshat Hooja

Universe of Learning


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4 - Good Intentions, Good Research and not so Good Developmental Policies

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