What They Did, How They Did It: Framing Research Questions Together

When program officers from two foundations decided to team up to hire an expert consulting group for a scan that would serve the learning needs of both, they put their heads together to decide what research questions to ask. Later, as the results came in, they conferred frequently with the consultants about what the research was uncovering and what further questions to ask. One described the process:

“When we got started, we had already, somewhat separately, outlined what we wanted to know, and so we merged those questions. Sometimes we didn’t have agreement on a question, but if one of us felt really strongly and we could include it for the pot of money we had, we included it. Over time, we structured a lot of communication around the questions. We sometimes had one or two significant work sessions a week with the whole group of us, the foundations and the consulting team, in order to review findings, ask questions, generate new questions to be explored together, really dig and go deep on particular questions. Some of those sessions were exciting! I learned a tremendous amount through that process, and it enriched the partnership and the project.”

Takeaways are critical, bite-sized resources either excerpted from our guides or written by Candid Learning for Funders using the guide's research data or themes post-publication. Attribution is given if the takeaway is a quotation.

This takeaway was derived from Scanning the Landscape 2.0.