Activity A: Setting the agenda of the workshop (6/7)

7. Characteristics of a well-formulated policy question

Remind workshop participants about the definition of a nutrition policy-relevant question. A “nutrition policy-relevant question” means a question that:

  1. responds to a relevant policy need or demand from decision makers
  2. is answerable with existing data, and for which data analysis methods and capacities are available
  3. allows a timely answer for policy use
  4. provides an answer that leads to actionable recommendations and decisions.

In addition, to the definition of a ‘nutrition policy-relevant question’, there are a few characteristics that may be useful to bear in mind for the actual formulation of the question. These characteristics mainly help to refine the question, making it sufficiently specific in terms of target group, indicator, and time frame to allow appropriate data analysis. See the example below of question reformulation.

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Elements that need to be specified in the question
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In fact, the question needs to be formulated in such as way that it can be answered by quantitative analysis. For example, questions formulated as ’What can we learn from...’ are not specific enough and need to be reformulated to be answerable by data analysis.

’Why..’ or ’What are the causes of...’ type of questions may also not be answerable with existing data. They can however be broken down further or reformulated to become answerable (for more detailed explanation, see page 5 or the guidance note on Data analysis (section 3.4) or the Technical Note on Data Analysis).

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Example of question reformulation