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What makes feedback mechanisms work?: Literature review to support an ALNAP–CDA action research into humanitarian feedback mechanisms

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Introduction

This literature review supports a broader ALNAP and CDA initiative aiming at producing evidence-informed guidance for humanitarian agencies on ways to strengthen the effectiveness of mechanisms for gathering feedback from affected populations in humanitarian contexts. It focuses on two key questions: (1) why and how humanitarian agencies seek, process, and respond to feedback from affected populations and (2) which elements have been identified as having the most impact on the effectiveness of a feedback mechanism. More specifically, it does the following:

  1. Reviews what existing studies say constitutes a humanitarian feedback mechanism, and derives a working definition to be used during research (Section 1).

  2. Identifies factors discussed in the literature as contributing to the effectiveness of a feedback mechanism in a humanitarian context (Section 2).

  3. Identifies limitations in the existing literature on humanitarian feedback mechanisms (Section 3).

  4. Suggests an overarching research question and several key lines of inquiry for future ALNAP–CDA action research, focusing on factors that are said to affect feedback mechanism effectiveness but whose actual contribution has not been empirically tested (Section 4).