NEDA specialists, UP prof conduct lecture-workshops on Writing Policy Briefs, and on Publishing for the Social Sciences

by Maria Theresa B. Panzo and Amado C. Guinto, Jr., CASS


Participants during the workshop

With the need to address the communication gap between academic researchers and the community, the Institute through the Department of Research (DR) in the Office of the Vice Chancellor for Research and Extension (OVCRE) hosted a Lecture-Workshop on Writing Policy Briefs on September 5, 2013 at the CEd Amphitheater.

In an interview, DR Director Dr. Franco G. Teves explained that the Commission on Audit (COA) looks for policy outputs in researches.

Dr. Teves
Dr. Franco G. Teves, OVCRE Department of Research Director

““Visibility of research outputs to the community and Local Government Units (LGUs) [is needed]. [But] there is a gap. [We] can’t be understood,” he said.

He also revealed that writing policy briefs was one of the needs that came out during the Institute strategic planning early this year especially since they intend to come up with Information Education Communication (IEC) materials that can be understood by the layman.

Specialists from the National Economic Development Authority (NEDA) were tapped as resource speakers. Dr. Fe D. Domingo, Assistant Regional Director of NEDA-X, and Leonila Cajarte, Chief Economic Development Specialist, NEDA-X discussed “Bridging the Research-Policy Gap Through Communication and Knowledge Information”; “Policy Brief as a Tool”, “Structural Elements, Aspects and How To’s of Policy Briefs”; and “Some Tips in Producing a Good Policy Brief”.

Dr. Fe D. Domingo, Assistant Regional Director of NEDA-X
Dr. Fe D. Domingo NEDA X Assistant Regional Director

Domingo, in her presentation, defined a policy brief as “a short document that presents the findings and recommendations of a research project to a non-specialized audience.” They are written to express an issue of great policy importance to decision makers in the clearest and simplest way to be greatly understood, hence, boosting its chances of being transformed from “key findings of a study” to inputs for decision makers.

“Policy briefs seem to be very difficult, but they just come in different forms and language. They have to be understood by the target readers,” Domingo said.

She also stressed that there should be a continuum, as seen in the effect of research to instruction, development, and then to be used in extension.

Cajarte added important points on policy brief writing which include its two aspects: content and form. She also stressed on the need for writers to consider the readers’ frame of reference to effectively produce policy briefs.

Fifty-five (55) participants from six colleges of the Institute attended the lecture-workshop. They were also asked to draft a policy brief on a finished research of Edward Laurence L. Opena and Franco G. Teves on “Climate and the Incidence of Dengue Fevers in Iligan City, Philippines” which was published in the Asia-Pacific Journal of Social Science in December 2011. In the plenary presentation of the drafts, the resource speakers reiterated that policy briefs should not deviate from the completed researches they are based on. The output from the College of Arts and Social Sciences (CASS) was adjudged as the best policy brief draft.

Dr. Cecilia D. Canoco, Chair of the UP CSSP Psychology Department
Dr. Cecilia D. Canoco, Chair of the UP CSSP Psychology Department

The following day on September 6, Dr. Ma. Cecilia D. Conaco of the Psychology Department of the College of Social Sciences & Psychology (CSSP) of UP Diliman gave a lecture on “Publishing Research Papers in the Social Sciences.” to about 30 participants from the College of Arts & Social Sciences, College of Education, and from the College of Nursing.

Using a metaphor for research, Conaco said, “Research is like carpentry, you will never learn to be a good carpenter unless you hit your fingers with your hammer. The more you hit your hand, the tougher you become” so said Conaco

As research is an important aspect in academic life, publishing researches also takes the same significance. Conaco presented the practical reasons why academicians publish their research output but she also emphasized that theory from research should also be shared and tried.

“Publication makes your research public, open to the examination and use by other scholars and knowledge users,” she added.

In her lecture, she also highlighted that as research is an open discourse in a community, a continuing discussion among researchers on a certain topic is also needed, hence the publication. “Publication is one very important avenue for this continuing exchange of ideas. Research is not complete until it has been published,” Conaco said.

Conaco’s lecture was divided into four topics namely: “Quality Social Science research as Requisite for Publishing in ISI Journals,” “Why Publish?” “Transforming Research Outputs to Publishable Manuscripts,” and “Choosing a Journal Where to Publish.” She gave useful tips on tailoring research papers depending which academic journal one wishes to be published in. She also stressed on the significance of knowing the audience one is writing for. “Think of the journal you are writing for,” she said.

Furthermore, Conaco, gave emphasis on the two key principles in preparing manuscripts: clarity and accuracy. “The two principles are important because your readers will be assessing whether they will believe what you are writing. So, don’t be vague, obscure, or intentionally misleading,” she added.

In the afternoon, the participants presented their outputs and took part in the critiquing of the papers. Peer Review Guidelines with Evaluation Criteria was also distributed to the participants to aid them in their assessment. After every presentation, Conaco suggested possible ISI journals where the participants could send in their manuscripts.

In her closing remarks at the end of the first day, Dr. Jinky B. Bornales, Vice Chancellor for Research and Extension, thanked all the participants and expressed her optimism that the lecture-workshop will strengthen the Institute’s research capabilities. She assured everyone that the OVCRE is working hard in achieving its aim of realizing a research culture in the Institute and eventually, internationalization.

OC-OPI

Topics : lecture