Devpolicy Blog Reader Poll: the results

Over 3 weeks in January 2017, we ran a Devpolicy Blog Reader Poll for the first time. This In Brief provides a summary of what we learned. The sample is by no means scientific (in total, 67 self-selected respondents took part), but the results provide us with some excellent feedback on what we’re doing well and where we need to try to improve. This is particularly valuable as we move ahead on a refresh of the Devpolicy Blog design.

First, though, about you: we learned that roughly a quarter of you are NGO employees (23.9% of respondents), followed by academics and students (17.9%), and government employees (16.4%). Half of you read the blog 1-3 times per week; 20% read more often than that. We also learned that you most likely first heard about the Devpolicy Blog via colleagues and friends (24%), via social media or the ANU website (18%), or at one of our events (15%).

In terms of topics covered on the blog, we learned that you are most interested in global development issues (78%), Australian government aid (70%), and Australian NGO aid (48%). But our readers have diverse interests – on average respondents indicated interest in 5 of the topics listed in the chart below. Among those who indicated ‘Other’, “disability and development” and “development effectiveness” were especially popular.

“Which of the following topics are you most interested in? (tick all that apply)”

“Which of the following topics are you most interested in? (tick all that apply)”

In terms of the types of posts that we publish, respondents indicated that they are most interested in reading original research and analysis; summaries of research published by other organisations; and news and announcements.

“What types of content are you most interested in? (please rank)”

“What types of content are you most interested in? (please rank)”

Overall, more than 60% of respondents find our content to be highly or usually relevant, while 25% find it to be occasionally relevant. One related piece of feedback that came through consistently was the predominance of PNG-related posts; one respondent even suggested that we “could almost call it the PNG-policy Blog”. Given that work involving PNG forms a significant part of our centre’s research and teaching activities, you can continue to expect a steady stream of posts on this topic – but going forward we’ll help you customise the kinds of content you receive.

In terms of format, we were happy to learn that 88% of respondents find the length of posts to be ‘about right’, and that 99% think that posts are very or somewhat easy to understand. We won’t be changing much on that front.

Lastly, we asked what we could do to most improve the quality and/or usefulness of the Devpolicy Blog. Our respondents indicated that coverage of a greater range of topics was most important (44%), followed by more posts authored by Southern/developing country authors (41%). In your open-ended comments on this question, numerous respondents expressed interest in reading more posts authored by people who are working ‘in the field’ and in a wider range of organisations, and more content on the broader Pacific (beyond PNG).

“In your opinion, what would most improve the quality and/or usefulness of the Devpolicy Blog? (tick all that apply)”

“In your opinion, what would most improve the quality and/or usefulness of the Devpolicy Blog? (tick all that apply)”

We hear you, and we agree. But we also need your help to make it happen – anyone can submit blog posts (check out our submission guidelines here). We’d particularly appreciate your help when it comes to increasing the number of posts authored by people who are from or are working in developing countries; as most of our staff are based in Canberra and Port Moresby, we’re reliant on you and your networks across the region (and the world!) to reach out with your drafts and ideas for posts. You can reach us at devpolicy@anu.edu.au.

Many thanks again to everyone who took the time to respond to the poll. If you didn’t have a chance to fill out the poll, but have feedback you’d like to share, please leave a comment on this post (or send us an email at devpolicy@anu.edu.au). We are grateful to have this data as we work on the blog re-design, and look forward to sharing the refreshed Devpolicy Blog with you in the near future.

Camilla Burkot

Camilla Burkot is a Research Officer at the Development Policy Centre, where she works primarily on our program of research on Australian aid effectiveness and edits the Devpolicy Blog. She has a background in social anthropology and holds a Master of Public Health from Columbia University, and has field experience in Eastern and Southern Africa, and PNG.

Stephen Howes

Stephen Howes is the Director of the Development Policy Centre and a Professor of Economics at the Crawford School. Stephen served in senior economic positions for a decade at the World Bank before becoming AusAID’s first Chief Economist. In 2011 he was a member of Australia’s Independent Review of Aid Effectiveness.

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