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DFID research: Call for Rigorous Literature Reviews in Education

DFID seeks multi-disciplinary research teams to undertake Rigorous Literature Reviews of existing evidence in areas of priority for DFID.

This was published under the 2010 to 2015 Conservative and Liberal Democrat coalition government

DFID seeks experienced multi-disciplinary research teams to undertake Rigorous Literature Reviews of existing evidence in the following areas of priority for DFID, each of which is a potential area for future research:

  1. Early childhood development and cognitive development in developing countries
  2. Literacy, foundation learning and assessment in developing countries
  3. Pedagogy, teaching practice, curriculum and teacher education in developing countries
  4. Language of instruction in education in developing countries
  5. The political economy of education systems in developing countries
  6. The role and impact of non-state actors in education delivery in developing countries
  7. Girls’ education and gender equality in developing countries
  8. Tertiary education and development in developing countries

In commissioning these eight thematic Literature Reviews, DFID is initiating a process which will produce a systematic stocktake and assessment of the existing evidence in critical areas underpinning education programmes.

Over recent decades the nature and quality of research on international education has been problematic. Research on education systems in developing countries has been primarily descriptive in nature, predominantly quantifying the scale of the problems facing policy makers - in particular those relating to access and system expansion. Research studies have also tended to be small in scale and investigator-driven.

The fragmented nature of this research has meant that it has not been possible to aggregate findings against high level questions. Additionally, until very recently, there had been little emphasis on experimental research - identifying and testing possible solutions to the problems facing policy-makers.

As a key element of this process, DFID wishes to bring together researchers from a range of different disciplines, who may not have worked together before. The expectation is that this will bring a wider range of disciplinary approaches, techniques, methodologies, questions and means of appraisal to focus on the themes and problems at the core of education research.

An electronic version of the application (in PDF format) must be received no later than 14:00, UK summer time, on Thursday 7th June 2012.

For further information, please contact DFID at

Updates to this page

Published 16 May 2012