Overview of guidelines to CSOs
Civil society organisation is a term widely used in the European policy context but less widely known elsewhere. The notion is not easy to define as it may vary according to national context and from one policy field to another.
According to the CONSIDER project, the working definition of a civil society organisation is an organisation that is non-governmental, generally not-for-profit, not representing commercial interests, and that pursues a common purpose for the public interest. CSOs are responsible for articulating the opinions of various social spheres, and cover, for example, environmental groups, minority groups, consumer representatives and patient organisations.
There are various motivations that encourage CSOs to become engaged in research:
Our results show that in addition to knowledge production and feeding into policy guidelines, CSOs are primarily motivated by a desire to contribute to achieving the agreed goals of their members, or to contribute to solving a pragmatic question. The CSOs contributing to research projects often hire skilled staff who are familiar with research processes, for example they hold PhDs themselves and are experienced in the research topics being considered.