Policy researchers spend an immense amount of time designing projects, developing questionnaires, collecting and analyzing data, and formulating possible policy implications. But hard work and excellence alone do not guarantee that public policy research will have impact. For that, the results must be communicated to those who can use it.
This manual aims to help researchers enhance their communication skills and encourages them to think about the potential audiences for and beneficiaries of their research at the inception of every project. The manual highlights principles and procedures that have proven successful in presenting research results to peers, colleagues, the media, policymakers, and interest groups. It includes guidelines for targeting and reaching selected audiences as well as exercises for applying those guidelines. It invites researchers, workshop participants, and other readers to use their own recent work to develop immediately useful, usable communication strategies and documents.
Although this manual outlines the principles for communicating food policy research, we caution our readers to use common sense and adapt the principles to the given situation. Experience has shown us that one approach can be successful in one scenario, but another approach is needed for a different situation. There is no single formula for achieving impact, but many possibilities to succeed in influencing policymakers and opinion leaders. With all this in mind, we hope you enjoy reading and using this manual. We would appreciate your feedback so that we may continually improve our training on this important, but often neglected, component of public policy research.