Annual report 2003
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Applied social science researchers generally want to see their research influence policy and practice; those of a more activist bent seek to ‘change the world, not simply to interpret it’.1 In its mission statement PLAAS envisages a strong connection between its research projects and processes of policy development and advocacy. To this end we are guided by clear values and a commitment to ‘social change that empowers the poor, builds democracy and enhances sustainable development… gender equity is integral to these goals’ (PLAAS mission statement). It is relatively easy to reach agreement on a general statement of this kind, but applying and realising this vision is less straightforward. The macro- and micro-politics of policy making and programme implementation are complicated and often highly contested. In addition, PLAAS researchers do not always agree with one other on the content of policy recommendations or on strategies of engagement. They do, however, seek to learn from each other through discussion and debate on a rich and varied range of experiences.