Wednesday, November 22, 2017

Relevance and Excellence

The defining features of the CPS’ research and academic activities shall be objectivity, relevance, and excellence. These form the cornerstone of a set of principles that arise in part from our dedication to the public interest — and the duty of trust that goes with it. These include:

  • Dedication to quality and objectivity in our work.
  • Stewardship of the financial resources, property, and sensitive information entrusted to us.
  • Respect of the laws and regulatory obligations that arise from our mission.
  • Responsibility to protect the CPS’ name and its reputation as a trusted source of quality, objective, and non-partisan research and analysis.

When it comes to its policy research, the CPS will strive to achieve globally accepted best practices and standards of high quality policy research and analysis. These are laid out below:

  • The policy problem should be well formulated, and the purpose of the study should be clear.
  • The methodology and approach should be well designed, keeping in mind the ethical standards,.
  • The study should demonstrate a thorough understanding of state-of-the-art in the domain.
  • Where possible, the data and information used for analysis may be in public domain and/or available for public scrutiny.
  • Assumptions should be explicit and justified.
  • The study should take into account unintended consequences of policies and implementation challenges, where appropriate.
  • The implications and recommendations should be logical, warranted by the findings, and explained thoroughly, with appropriate caveats.
  • The documentation should be accurate, understandable, clearly structured, and temperate in tone.
  • The study should be compelling, useful, and relevant to stakeholders and decision-makers.
  • The study should be objective, independent, and balanced.
  • The study should be balanced, unbiased and impartial in all respects.

These standards are addressed and enforced at three different levels:

First, at a personal level, each new staff member – particularly younger professionals – inducted in the CPS must undergo some formal training in the arts and sciences of public policy analysis and management. This training might take the form of in-house self-paced tutorials with a senior staff member, courses at the CPS-CIIT, or external courses for which special recommendation and approval must be sought. This ‘mandatory’ training ensures that each staff member at the CPS is imbued with the passion and dedication to objectivity, methodology, quality, and excellence.

Second, at a project level, CPS seeks to establish, right from the outset, a culture of peer review within the organization. This happens both formally and informally. Each member of the CPS research staff is encouraged to present his /her) research to other members of the CPS/CIIT community at regular intervals and seek ‘informal’ peer review and solicit advice and guidance on enhancing the quality and relevance of his or her work. These internal “Research Colloquia” shall take place at least once every month. In addition, formal peer review committees shall work for enhancing the standards and quality for various research outputs produced and published by the Centre. Appropriate care is taken to avoid conflict of interest and to ensure presence of ‘outside’ expertise on these peer review committees.

Third, at the institutional level, the CPS works under the oversight of the Research Review Board that provides institutional oversight on quality and objectivity of CPS’ research. The Research Review Board, for instance, may address concerns, such as: the quality of research? its relevance to public interest and the needs of our clients? Its innovativeness, both in terms of its formulation as well as the use of rigorous methodology? Is our research generating societal dialogue and producing long-lasting impact? The Research Review Board may meet at least once a year and provide written guidance to the CPS leadership and make constructive recommendations to enable the centre to reach the set standards. It must also provide a report – once every three years – to CIIT management.