Research Helpdesk

The research helpdesk is a demand-responsive service providing rapid desk-based research on questions related to governance, social development, conflict and humanitarian topics. We provide a report that synthesises the key issues and relevant literature and incorporates comments from academics and practitioners.

Submit a research query

Please note that the helpdesk service is charged at fixed daily rates to organisations other than DFID, the Australian Government and the European Commission's Instrument contributing to Stability and Peace. Please email for information on costs.

Submit Your Query

Search or browse completed reports

Search for past reports on specific topics. Over 480 Helpdesk research reports completed since April 2007 are available to download without charge. For a full list of these reports, click on the second search button (below 'Regions and Countries').

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How the service operates

Use this service to support project or programme planning, produce briefings or policy papers, prepare for missions or meetings or get quickly up to speed with the latest debates on any issue. For questions that require more in-depth investigation, we can also undertake extended assignments according to your specification.

  1. Email us at or telephone +44 (0) 121 414 5037 to submit your query.
  2. A researcher will contact you to confirm your query and ensure that we fully understand your needs.
  3. The researcher will send you a report on the findings by the agreed deadline.

The Helpdesk is staffed by a team of researchers located at the University of Birmingham, the Institute of Development Studies and the Humanitarian and Conflict Response Institute. The GSDRC also maintains close links with the British Library of Development Studies, Europe's largest research collection on economic and social change in developing countries. Researchers can call on the GSDRC's established networks of expert academics and practitioners both within our consortium and in the wider development community.

An important part of ensuring the quality of Helpdesk responses is discussing and clarifying your query before research begins. This helps us to understand your exact needs and tailor our response to match the purpose of your query.

Other Helpdesk services

Questions from DFID staff about the following subjects should be directed to other Helpdesk services core-funded by DFID: