The intellectual environment of the researcher is particularly relevant in the case of development research. A researcher lives and works in an environment that determines his/her training, the support he/she receives (intellectual, managerial, material), the manner in which he/she is supervised, his/her capacity to have access to
scientific publications, etc.
Is the environment of the researcher stimulating his/her research, or does it rather work against it?
Is it an “enabling’’ environment ?
The authors of any specific guide should take this aspect in consideration when providing instructions to the actual evaluators.
But the environment must also be taken into account when the strengthening of research capacity, or the coaching of researchers comes under consideration. Two separate issues are discussed briefly : the institutional environment and, the national and/or cultural environment.
The institutional environment
One of the dimensions to be considered in evaluating development research is the support the researcher receives from the institution in which he/she is working.
- Is the researcher a member of a team that possesses the necessary competences, skills, information, access to documentary resources, etc...?
- What is the quality of the group’s members and of their publications?
- Does the group have a coherent research plan, or is everybody following his/her favourite researches?
- How good are the prospects for a successful elaboration of a common plan of work?
- Are all necessary expertises present in the group?
- Are the infrastructures appropriate?
- How good are the leadership qualities of the group leader? Can he/she motivate his/her people? Does he/she have both scientific and managerial skills?
- How good are the international contacts of the group?
- What is the financial and managerial support offered to the researcher?
- What is the structure of supervision of his/her research ? Which scientific guidance does he/she receive ? Can he/she count on the scientific guidance from a experienced senior ?
The national and/or cultural environment
The country in which the researcher operates and the degree of development of scientific research in that country should also be taken into account as determinants when evaluating development research. Questions similar to the ones raised for the institutional environment should be addressed.