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Research guidelines

Martha Sipply, a teacher, preparing her lessons.

At a glance

A series of guidelines sharing resources, methodology and best practice in conducting research.


Research is an essential part of Oxfam's work. Our advocacy and campaigns have to be supported by reliable evidence and are developed with the help of research. Our humanitarian and development programmes are likewise shaped by research, and we use research to evaluate their effectiveness and learn lessons from them. 

In some cases we undertake this research ourselves; more often than not we do it in collaboration with our partners, or commission others to do it for us.  In order to ensure that this research is of the highest quality, we provide training and other kinds of support to our staff and partners around the world who are engaged in planning, commissioning, managing, conducting, and analysing research, as well as to those who are involved in using and communicating the results of research. And this is where our research guidelines come in. 

We began by writing research guidelines for our own staff and distributing them internally. Over time we realised that our partners also value them, and that they might be of much wider interest and use, especially in places where access to published guides to development research and research methodologies is limited. 

We began by publishing an introductory set of guidelines, and have since added to them. We intend to keep on adding topics, introducing new subjects, and updating the existing guidelines when we can. We've also launched a complementary series of case studies, illustrating the application of the guidelines and other aspects of research in practice that are exemplary, challenging, or interesting in different ways.

Research guidelines

These guidelines reflect Oxfam's practical know-how, and our recognition of the importance of both analytical rigour and the need to bring human voices and experiences to the fore. All guidelines are in English with some available in French and Spanish. With this in mind, we'd love to hear your experiences of development research, and welcome comments and suggestions for these guidelines. 

More research resources

Research in Practice

These case studies of research in practice draw upon Oxfam's experience in conducting and commissioning research for its programmes and campaigns in different parts of the world. They are designed to illustrate the application of our research guidelines and other aspects of research practice that are exemplary, challenging, or interesting in different ways. With this in mind, we'd love to hear your experiences of development research, and welcome comments and suggestions for these case studies.

More research resources

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An introduction

Martin Walsh introduces Oxfam's research guidelines and explains why research is such a vital part of our work.

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