Policy practitioners urge original thinking for research relevance

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PR: Senior policy practitioners have urged emerging researchers to adopt indigenous contexts and approaches while conducting their studies if they are to address the society’s real problems and needs.

They were speaking at a meeting of young MPhil and PhD scholars titled “Brainstorming Research Ideas”, which was organized by IPS LEAD – the learning, excellence and development program of Institute of Policy Studies (IPS), Islamabad as part of its ‘Indigenizing Policy Research in Pakistan’ initiative.

The session was addressed by Dr Tahir Hijazi, former Member Governance & Policy Reforms, Planning Commission of Pakistan and Air Cdre (r) Khalid Banuri, Advisor, Strategic Plans Division, GHQ, and Khalid Rahman, Executive President IPS.

Banuri stressed the importance of fueling the research being produced in Pakistan with indigenous narratives and solutions in order to make it relevant, applicable and useful for the society. He also emphasized on substantiating one’s study with the power of argument as well as by strengthening it using quantitative techniques when possible in order to make the work convincing and persuasive.

The speaker encouraged the researchers to make their studies long-term, futuristic and encompassing a sundry of opinions including the holistic world views. He also recommended various areas to study as per the present-day and future needs, also advising the aspiring researchers to focus and prioritize on the ‘binding constraints’ when the areas of study look too intertwined and complex to pursue.

Highlighting the necessity of establishing an interface between policy research and policy-making/legislative processes in the country, Banuri stated that now even the parliamentarians tend to attach researchers with them in an attempt to develop understanding on different subjects and hence trying to make their decisions and propositions more cogent.

Earlier in his speech, Hijazi also highlighted the need of fulfilling the gap between academic and policy corridors, giving the example that one could hardly find qualified public policy practitioners on key posts in Pakistan. The speaker spoke of various constraints in conducting research in the country while suggesting alongside various ways to deal with them.

He also pointed at various areas to study in Pakistan while emphasizing that the conducted research should be pragmatic and relevant to the indigenous needs.

EP-IPS Khalid Rahman in the end spoke about the importance of role of researchers in the modern day polity stating that it is our present-day need to groom original thinkers. The primary job of such intellectuals is to create knowledge, and if we continue to base our studies on Western theories and opinions instead of developing our homegrown solutions, we will not be able to address our problems efficiently.


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