When it comes to revolutions, the data revolution has certainly been less bloody than, say, those in the 18th and 19th centuries. Equally transformative? A question for historians.
AidData, a research and innovation lab located at the College of William & Mary in the US, set out in 2017, to identify what data decision makers in low and middle-income countries use, whose data they use, why they use it, and which data are most helpful.
What can the World Bank learn from AidData’s study, and do data from our own Country Opinion Survey Program, align with AidData’s findings?
Decoding data use: 3500 leaders in 126 low- and middle-income countries.
In 2017 nearly 3500 leaders responded to AidData’s Listening To Leaders Survey (LTL) to help uncover how, when, and why this audience uses information from a range of sources.
This rich data is featured in the report “Decoding Data Use: How do Leaders Source data and Use It To Accelerate Development” and can help any institution target important audiences. For example, what are CSOs and NGOs using most frequently, and for what purpose? How about government respondents? Development partners? The private sector? Does it differ region to region?
Here are some of the key findings:
Policymakers consult information from the World Bank more than other foreign/international organizations.
If you want opinion leaders in client countries to be aware of the Bank’s data and knowledge, bring it to their attention. If you expect them to find it through an internet search, you might be disappointed.
Opinion leaders are most likely to regard the knowledge and information helpful if it helps them better understand challenging policy issues and will help them develop implementation strategies in response.
Make sure the knowledge and information reflects the local context (be inclusive).
Stay focused on policy recommendations to ensure value.
Now let’s see how AidData’s findings compare with the Bank’s Country Opinion Survey Data.
First thing’s first: Accessing data
The AidData survey findings demonstrate that in the world of information and knowledge, decision makers around the world are accessing the Bank’s data.