Sessions in English

[Languages spoken by trainers]

General session: Policy Research Methods [English/Russian]

The goal of the session is to stimulate the participants’ capacity to identify adequate ways of acquiring and analyzing policy-relevant data in the environment where public information is scarce and incomplete, statistical data is rarely available and policy makers’ openness to dialogue with civil society actors varies from case to case.

The session addresses these needs by drawing participants’ attention (through group exercises and discussion) to the following aspects of policy analysis and research:

I. Policy researcher’s agenda and its role in the design of a policy research project:

1. How do we ensure that our policy research is relevant to the policy agenda we wish to impact?
2. How do we ensure that our policy research is true to the stakeholders’ needs? Research ethics.

II. Policy research methods:

1. Quantitative methods – assessing (through discussion) the participants’ experience in the application of quantitative methods to policy research. Discussion of the limitations in terms of cost/ information availability/ reliability.
2. Qualitative research methods – assessing participants’ previous experience in applying qualitative methods of research (through discussion).
3. Group exercise: choosing the right qualitative methods for policy research topics chosen by participants prior to the training.
4. Discussion on policy research methods through the prism of the policy cycle.

In depth 1: Research Design and Methods for Policy Analysts [English/Russian]

The session is intended to enhance policy analysts’ capacity to choose the right research design and methods for policy-relevant research in the context where they operate.

I. Research design:

1. Discussion: Research question and its relevance to the desired policy impact.
2. Group exercise: Three steps to a customized research design to address selected research questions.

II. Qualitative methods in policy research:

1. Introduction
2. Group exercise: Creating a checklist for policy document analysis.
3. Group exercise: Creating a structured interview, coding.
4. Discussion and group exercise: formulating policy research conclusions.

In depth 2: Using research results for capacity and impact [English/Russian]

• Using (not abusing) the data from international comparative studies for policy project purposes: the hurdles, the rewards and the relevance in dialogue with international donors and national policy makers.
• Improving the capacity of our policy dialogue partners: How to use policy studies in order to provide middle-level civil servants and other relevant dialogue partners with the competence that is necessary for them to see the policy problems we address?

The session will consist of a 30-minute presentation by the trainer followed by two discussions (on each question separately).

In depth 3: Think tank work general [English]

This session identifies types of think tanks that conduct research, provide education and /or engage in advocacy in areas such as social and economic policies, political and military strategies, science or technology issues, industrial or business policies. While some think tanks are independent and derive revenues from donations or from consulting work related to their projects, others are funded by governments, special interest groups, or businesses.

In the modern think tank industry a handful of individuals, operating often on a shoestring budget, have achieved remarkable reforms. How have they achieved these reforms? Most think tank founders do not hail from business school. Yet, they have learned to carefully select their board members and to create internal management structures that ensure the timely development and sufficient quality of think tank products, such as research and policy papers.

• Types of think tanks: from quasi-governmental to autonomous and independent think tanks;
• Think tank objectives and the balance between academic research, education and advocacy;
• The Board of Directors and the internal management of independent think tanks;
• Product development and quality control;

In depth 4: Strategic business plan developmentl [English]

• This session emphasizes the importance of developing a sound business plan, which includes setting strategic objectives, preparing a situational appraisal, identifying and reaching your target audience, and establishing organizational goals while learning how to measure and evaluate your performance as an organization.

Participants will have the opportunity to share their think tank experiences and learn about different strategic options to maximize the impact of their institute. They will be required to work on their individual business plans, while gathering feedback from instructors and coaches along the way.

After this session, the participants will have a greater understanding of the essential elements within strategic planning and will have defined their own strategic aims and plan based on the mission and vision of their respective think tank.

• Communicating the vision and mission of the think tank;
• Results chain analysis and the importance of strategic objectives;
• Situational appraisal of the think tank work;
• Strategic moves to achieve set objectives;
• Formulating managable goals that can be monitored and evaluated;
• Raising and managing public and private funds for think tanks;

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