Saturday, January 28, 2006

The IDRC Networks Study

Go to the study website.

Networking has been at the core of the Canadian International Development Research Center's (IDRC) activities. IDRC research efforts are co-operative undertakings between North and South and South to South. Both formal and informal networking of projects and researchers through workshops, site visits, shared technical assistance and document exchange are a mechanism of choice across all sectors of IDRC activity. This review was intended to improved IDRC's networing by deepening understanding of networks and their functioning. It has resulted in a wide variety of specific, project-based descriptions of network purposes, outputs and administrative elements. The review has focused expressly on interactive research and capacity development networks, as distinct from those electronic and data exchange arrangements which are more simply concerned with facilitating the storage and movement of information. It "integrated data from several sources: 8 commissioned papers on specific aspects of networking (see summaries appendix 1); 84 interviews with network coordinators, IDRC programme staff and other donors (see list appendix 2); file reviews of 30 IDRC network projects; and a literature review (Rowan and Bernard 1993) undertaken to place the questions and issues in a wider context. Its design and methodology have been qualitative, with data collected and analyzed in terms of a series of interpretive questions: why and how networks work; for whose benefit; under what conditions; and with what effect. The review argues that networks are more or less effective on the basis of how well they accommodate the different motivations, needs and capacities of members, donors and participating organizations; and how well they respond to their environments in doing so." IDRC, 2004.

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