Tearfund conducts and commissions research to deepen understanding of key issues that affect the communities we work with. We do this to support our partners and programmes, to influence and inform key decision-makers and strengthen our thought leadership.
All of the research conducted or commissioned by Tearfund is both practice-led and collaborative. In being practice-led, we ensure that our research assists us to do one or more of the following:
- assess the impact of our existing work and understand what works well, where, with whom, and under what conditions, so that we can scale up
- explore and identify new areas of work that will lead us and our partners to achieve positive impact within our three corporate priority areas (church and community transformation; environmental and economic sustainability; fragile states)
- inform key decision-makers, individuals and churches on important issues affecting the communities we work with
Being collaborative, we regularly work with consultants, academics, universities and peer agencies to conduct and publish research. Our recent research collaborators include the Cambridge Centre for Christianity Worldwide, Fauna & Flora International, the Institute of Development Studies at the University of Sussex, Islamic Relief Worldwide, the Joint Learning Initiative on Faith & Local Communities, RedR, the University of Birmingham, University of Cape Town, University of Leeds, University of Nairobi, University of Stellenbosch, and WasteAid.
A collaborative approach also means that we are committed to designing and conducting research that facilitates the joint production of knowledge and understanding among our staff – those in different teams and locations – as well as partners.
Our guidance for practitioners
In 2020, we started developing a set of guides for our own staff and external collaborators that address different stages of the research process. These guides may be useful for other NGO practitioners and academics engaged in NGO or NGO-academic research.