Look out for – and react to – unexpected policy windows

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Thís part has a lot to do with the previous strategy. It requires a proactive approach in seeking new policy windows (reading newspapers won't do) and having credible arguments ready. This includes:

Strategy: Follow all available news on how specific issues are being picked up by policy makers and other key players

Tools and Uses Potentials Limitations Examples
News aggregators, such as Google News Google news can be customized in such a way that it filters only news relevant to researcher's keywords
Google Alerts

Google Alerts are email updates of the latest relevant Google results (web, news, etc.) based on your choice of query or topic.

Strategy: Follow all opportunities to profile the issue in media, thus influencing policy makers

Tools and Uses Potentials Limitations Examples
News aggregators News aggregators can help to keep us informed on important events with implications for specific policies. If these events receive attention of mass-media, those often seek experts ready to offer relevant analysis and views.
Analytic tools

Google Trends – see how many people search on Google for particular terms.

Google Trends can give us an idea of a general level of interest in a specific issue (reflected in frequency with which people perform searches on it in Google). Only frequent searches are displayed. Very specific searches don't have enough occurrences to be recorded on google Trends.

Strategy: Follow favourable movements growing around particular issue, and supply them with credible arguments

Tools and Uses Potentials Limitations Examples
Social Networking Sites Many activist movements are using social networking tools as their principal campaigning platforms.
Google Sites Google Sites represent a convenient tool to organize outcomes of research findings in such a way that these can be further shared, re-used, etc.

Strategy: Have key findings and policy implications ready to be presented in a schematic, yet understandable and credible manner

Tools and Uses Potentials Limitations Examples
Dynamic graphs and maps showing possible future scenarios. Animated maps can demonstrate scenarios and trends in a glimpse with more power than pages of text can ever achieve. Requires complex statistical data over a timeline in formats compatible with available tools A map showing different climate change scenarios


Online maps

Using Google Maps , Google Earth or OpenStreetMaps can be used to present geographical data.

The geographical information can be completed with data relevant to specific policy (e.g. statistics of people with access to internet, healthcare, etc). Maps can provide a good visual representation of statistical data and they can be often used as a powerful evidence (e.g, map of how access to a specific public service is distributed in different districts). Simplification

Common online maps don't capture evolution over time

BBC's map of internet access across the world: http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/technology/8552410.stm

The Global Voices Advocacy Project http://advocacy.globalvoicesonline.org/projects/maps/presents data on internet censorship and activists against censorship in different countries. In one look, you can see where there are threats to freedom of expression in the world.

Mobile Active has a map of mobile telephony use and providers in different countries: http://mobileactive.org/mobiledata

Graphs & Diagrams

Google Chart Tools or any of the many existing online services for Graphs and charts (depends on aesthetic preferences)

Online Charts can visualize statistical information in an understandable and powerful way.

Video interviews and short video documents

Short video interviews with people who understand implications of planned policies or are directly impacted by them is a powerful tool to draw attention of public/media to specific issues.

Vimeo, EngageMedia, Blip.tv, Youtube and other free online services make it easy to upload videos and share them in number of formats across blogs, websites, videocasts, etc.

Video-enabled mobile phones and cheap cameras can be often used as they are sufficient for common online video quality and the content and timeliness of video contributions are usually more important than image quality.

Real people talking about an issue from their perspective can make even complex issues and their consequences understandable to a layperson. Steep learning curve in capacity to turn raw video material into a short and consistent video message. Witness' The Hub http://hub.witness.org/ features videos from activist film-makers on different human rights issues.

EngageMedia http://www.engagemedia.org/ has videos from Asia Pacific that focuses on environmental rights.

Both communities are great at abstracting and summarising content.

Strategy: Have layered information available online, from a very schematic form to an in-depth analysis.

Tools and Uses Potentials Limitations Examples
Google Sites Google Sites is a convenient tool to organize research findings in such a way that the frontpage shows a schematic glimpse of key research findings (including maps, charts, etc) while other sections and links contain detailed analysis, supporting evidence, statistics, references to other resources, etc.


Table of Contents of the iGuide

1. Introduction

2. Basic Communication Strategy and use of Web 2.0 Tools for Evidence Based Policy

3. Section 1: Political Context

4. Section 2: Evidence

5. Section 3: Links

This iGuide is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 license.

Impact 2.0 is a project of the Fundación Comunica with funding provided by the International Development Research Centre (IDRC), IDRC.jpg Ottawa, Canada.

Consult the User's Guide for information on using the wiki software.