The promise and pitfalls of collaborating with development organizations and policy makers in Africa

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Colleges, School and Institutes


A growing number of academics are engaging in collaborative research projects with development organizations and policy makers. Increasingly, this includes efforts to co-produce research, rather than simply share information. These new ways of doing research raise important ethical and practical issues that are rarely discussed but deserve attention – especially in Africa. The continent is the region of the world in which these new approaches are particularly prevalent, and one where the challenges those approaches create tend to manifest in distinct or acute ways. In this Research Note, we draw on a collaborative research project with the Westminster Foundation for Democracy to illuminate these difficulties. We also offer suggestions for how to manage the challenges that arise when academics conduct research with policy makers and development organizations. Ensuring that such collaborations are both effective and ethical is not easy, but it must be done if we are to develop better informed policy and scholarship.


Original languageEnglish
JournalAfrican Affairs
Issue number466
Early online date14 Nov 2017
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 14 Nov 2017


  • Africa, research collaboration, development