Introduction to the 4-step question formulation process

  • Description of the question formulation process

    The process contributes to and stimulates the broader national multisector and multistakeholder ‘policy dialogue’ in nutrition. It is usually carried out in relation to a specific multisectoral nutrition policy and/or nutrition plan of action that NIPN aims to support.
    It aims to formulate a nutrition policy question, that is to say a question that:

    1. responds to a relevant policy need or decision maker’s interest;
    2. can be answered using existing quantitative data and available capacity;
    3. provides timely output for policy use or decision making;
    4. provides answers that lead to actionable recommendations and decisions.
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    The four steps of the question formulation process
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    The process of question formulation is:

    • led by the policy component of NIPN, facilitated by the NIPN policy expert and carried out under the guidance and oversight of the multisectoral advisory committee (MAC);
    • supported by the data component of NIPN, which helps to refine questions based on the availability of data;
    • grounded in consultations between the NIPN country team, the sectoral government counterpart and non-government actors, contributing to the multisectoral policy or plan supported by NIPN.

    The NIPN approach is complex in that it involves not only multiple stakeholders but also multiple sectors which play a role in influencing nutrition outcomes. It will therefore not be a linear process and may require going back and forth multiple times between the different steps. The NIPN approach can best be described as a dialogue between the NIPN core team, the MAC, the sectors and multiple other stakeholders (as described in the Introduction to the NIPN approach section).
    The process of formulating policy questions for nutrition builds upon the experience of the National Evaluation Platforms (NEP), which have been successfully tested in four countries (see below).

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    Experience of the Nutrition Evaluation Platforms