• Leandro Echt

‘Context Matters’ framework for improving evidence use: what do policymakers and practitioners think

Updated: Apr 8

In 2016, INASP and Politics & Ideas (P&I) produced the Context Matters Framework – a lens through which to examine the internal and external context in which an organization is working, identify the main factors affecting evidence use, and provide a way to systematically identify how they manifest in any given agency. It considers interrelated areas to help navigate complexity, so that one can better understand the organization, the blockages and opportunities for positive change towards evidence use.

In this post, Leandro Echt highlights some of the benefits and advantages of the Framework, as well as areas for improvement, from the perspective of a worldwide range of policymakers, researchers and other practitioners.


The ‘Context Matters’ Framework has been conceived as a living t

ol, an approach that is adapted and updated as we learn from its application in several contexts and from new perspectives. The Framework draws on the extensive academic literature as well as on interviews with more than 50 policymakers in Africa, Asia and Latin America, but in addition, we are constantly integrating new perspectives on the Framework from policy makers, researchers and practitioners spread around the world (through webinars, workshops or by actively requesting feedback). Two pilots with government agencies in Peru and Ghana have also provided us with valuable lessons about its applicability in different organizations.

Our intention is for the framework to build on – and contribute to – learning and wider community thinking about evidence-informed policy making. It is designed to dialogue and work alongside tools from other stakeholders, such as ODI’s Guidelines and good practices for evidence-informed policy-making in a government department. We are excited to be featuring our Framework in an upcoming book produced by international experts and the University of Johannesburg, and we have shared ongoing lessons with networks such as the LSE Impact Blog, the I2Insights and the GAIA communities. We have also published our learning in case studies, articles and interviews.

But how does the tool work from the perspective of those at the “coal-face” of evidence use? This is what policy makers, researchers and practitioners worldwide think about the Framework:

 How it adds most value








Areas for development

Based on feedback from users, there are some aspects of the framework that we have prioritized for continued development:






These perspectives provide us with a lot of food for thought to continue enhancing the Framework and its applicability in different organizational contexts. We are very thankful to all those who take some time to share their thoughts on the Framework with us. We are already using the Framework in joint work with other stakeholders, which will also give us more insights and experience to continue making this tool a relevant contribution to evidence-informed policies.

Do you want to share your thoughts on the Framework? Please do so by replying to this post at the bottom of this page, or feel free to write to contact@politicsandideas.org or info@inasp.info. Your feedback is most welcome!

Image: African policymakers and researchers discussing the Context Matters Framework at the Evidence-Informed Policy Making Seminar on Water-Energy-Food-Health co-organized by the European Commission, The African Academy of Sciences, UK Research and Innovation, the International Network for Government Science Advice and the South African Department of Science and Technology in Pretoria, South Africa (December, 2018).

#organizationalassessment #useofevidence #Evidence #Evidenceinformedpolicymaking #evidencebasedpolicymaking #evidencebasedpolicy #organisationalchange #evidenceinformedpolicy #contextmatters

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