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Research is fundamentally about creating knowledge. It is about exploring existing
literatures and ideas, and then building on these, usually by doing a substantial
amount of empirical research. Examiners of a PhD thus have to say whether a thesis
adds to knowledge, either or both theoretically or empirically. In the 80,000 words of
the written thesis, the author therefore needs to show that they

  • are thoroughly conversant with the key intellectual debates in a particular subject area, and can identify key issues from these that will form the focus of their research
  • can design a methodology to undertake empirical work that adds to our knowledge in that research field,
  • can then undertake that research in a particular place or places,
  • can analyse the results of that research in the context of the theoretical framework, and
  • can then write it up clearly and effectively.

Research, though, is undertaken for many different reasons. While supporting highly
scholarly and rigorous research, the ICT4D collective is also committed to ensuring
that this research is relevant to the needs and interests of poor and marginalised
communities. While not all of our research does necessarily have immediate practical
ramifications, we are committed to working with people from all different backgrounds
to implement research activities that are relevant to their interests. We do research
with people rather than about or on people.