For 40 years, the Australian Centre for International Agriculture Research (ACIAR) has been encouraging and supporting research projects. To draw key-lessons from this 40-year period of research support, an impact evaluation will be carried out. It asks: What elements of the ACIAR model in practice are associated with the most successful project outputs and enduring outcomes in different contexts? To answer this question, the existing database of ACIAR research projects (n=40-100) will be evaluated using qualitative comparative analysis (QCA) logic and tools. This allows for uncovering the various (context-specific) modes of operating that have allowed ACIAR to make contributions to innovation system development.
A first step in a QCA analysis is to identify, define, and calibrate the causal conditions (”independent variables”) and outcomes of interest (“dependent variable”). This evidence synthesis of the Agricultural Research for Development (AR4D) literature aims to distill the most common conditions and outcomes from the literature to build a theoretical model that can be applied, deductively, in the ACIAR impact evaluation. Within the impact evaluation, additional conditions and outcomes may be traced in an inductive manner.
Thus, this evidence synthesis asks:
- What are the dominant desirable outcomes of AR4D research support currently identified in the academic AR4D literature?
- What are the dominant causal conditions currently identified in the academic AR4D literature as necessary and/or sufficient to achieve desirable outcomes of AR4D research support?
The aim of this evidence synthesis is to synthesize the evidence base of the academic AR4D literature that maps, explores, and interrogates the outcomes of AR4D research support. To this end, this evidence synthesis will answer the following questions:
- What desirable outcomes may be expected from AR4D research support?
- Under what circumstance, when, and how AR4D research support likely to result in these desirable outcomes?
- For questions 2, if heterogeneity is found in studies on AR4D research support: What is the role of context on the outcomes of AR4D research support?
The original protocol (10 August 2020) for the evidence synthesis is available here: