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Title: Final Report - Learning to monitor think tanks impact: Three experiences from Africa, Asia and Latin America
Authors: Alcázar, Lorena
Balarín, María
Weerakoon, Dushni
Eboh, Eric
Date: Oct-2012
Abstract: The impact of think tanks has received increasing attention in the literature, especially amongst those working in the international development community2. Accordingly, stakeholders, such as donors, policy makers, academia representatives, think tanks themselves, among others, are increasingly aware of the importance of monitoring and evaluating think tanks’ impact and many think tanks worldwide are working on identifying their impact areas and on developing mechanisms to estimate it. In this context, the objective of this study is to provide elements for an analytical framework to monitor and assess the impact of think tanks working in less developed contexts. This includes reflections about the very possibility of measuring impact. This is done by integrating different impact definitions and indicators, variables, contexts and approaches based on a literature review. This literature review informed the development of an analytical framework that was applied to all three think tank case studies. The objective of the study is also to understand the difficulties of measuring the impact of thinks tanks in the different spheres of their work, i.e. policy influence, contribution to academic field of research, public agenda, etc., and to learn from the experiences of the selected cases. One of the main conclusions of the exercise, particularly after its discussion at the South Africa TTI Exchange, is that it is possible and relatively easier to estimate impact if output (visibility) indicators are considered. More difficult and subjective is to monitor and estimate impact through the use of reputational and research use indicators such as surveys and citations. However, what seems more relevant but also more difficult is to estimate final impact (influence) because this can only be done through subjective, qualitative, contextual example based instruments, and it is hard to attribute a clear causality between ideas and actual changes.
Project Number: 106935
Project Title: Understanding the impact of think tanks: background studies for the Think Tank Initiative Exchange 2012 event.
Access: Open Access
License: MGC signed post January 2008 - author/owner is recipient who signed the MGC; copyright statement required on document
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