Research communication: Enhancing academic capital or Influencing educational policy in the Ethiopian higher education context?

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The Literacy Research Development Centre of the University of Greenwich and the Middlesex University’s Institute for Work based Learning UK


A prerequisite for evidence-based educational policy formation is the timely provision of scientifically solid and up-to-date information to policymakers. The extent to which such research is translated into policy action, however, is dependent on the success of communication strategies between researchers and policymakers. This study examined the communication strategies of researchers who interacted with education policy makers in Ethiopia. Data were collected from a sample of randomly selected 160 academic staff from seven public universities and 65 policy experts from the planning and policy department, Ministry of Education. A total of 12 interviews were made with policy makers and policy implementers so as to augment the opened ended questionnaire responses. Considering their roles in policy formulations and implementations, their accessibility and time only top academic leaders were interviewed using a structured interview checklist. Data were analysed using descriptive statistics and inferential statistics. Results showed that inviting government representatives to attend research conferences, sending copies of research publications to government offices and disseminating via electronic media were the most frequently used forms of communication whereas preparing policy briefs, conducting policy seminars, coaching policy experts, and press briefings were the least exploited communication efforts. Statistical analysis of research dissemination efforts revealed that there was no significant difference between male and female (T (158) = 0.753, p> 0. 05). By contrast, applying Tukey HSD test to academic rank, the level of education and length of work suggested that the mean difference was significant for respondents whose academic ranks were between assistant professors and lecturers (F (3,156) = 7.596, p<.05), whose qualification levels were between PhD and MA/MSc ((F (2,157) = 5.496, p<.05) , whose length of work in HEIs were between 6-10 and 11-15 years (F (4,155) = 7.913, p<.05). However, age was an insignificant moderator variable. From the study, it was learned that effective dissemination of research results to policymakers was an essential element of any research program; not only as a means of translating research results into policy action, but also research outputs without appropriate communication or active dissemination efforts was a wastage in so far as policy relevant ideas were generated and tax payers money spent. Consequently, research dissemination should be a planned process, goal and audience oriented and accompanied by various active dissemination channels (face to face interaction, printed materials, internet, mass media) using communication tactics (such as scientific conference presentation, workshops, seminars for policymakers, coaching or consultation, policy briefs, tool kits, enewsletters, Web sites, newsletters, press release, best practice guides, leaflets, brochures, posters , interactive CD or DVD etc.) leading to awareness, understanding and action for an education issue identified as important such as quality and equity of education.



Educational research, Research communication, Educational policy, Policy influence, Academic capital


Enyew, T. A. and Woldemariam, H. Z. (2017). Research communication: Enhancing academic capital or Influencing educational policy in the Ethiopian higher education context? International Journal of Multidisciplinary Comparative Studies. 4(1-3), 67-92.