Lauren Kogen is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Media Studies and Production at Temple University. Her research focuses on communication for development and social change (how media and communication can promote positive social change for marginalized or disadvantaged communities) and communication about development (how information about development work is communicated to policy-makers and the public). Governments, NGOs and private donors spend billions annually on development projects, yet there is widespread acknowledgement that these projects have not produced the social welfare improvements that one might hope for after decades of intervention. What can be done to improve interventions and spur social change? Why do some projects fail while others succeed?
Dr. Kogen’s research addresses a variety of questions in these fields, including:
- How does incorporating project beneficiaries into project design, implementation, and evaluation influence development project outcomes?
- How can more participatory models be practically and efficiently implemented under current funding systems?
- How do current efforts to communicate to the general public about development (e.g., through the news or through celebrities) impact development work and development outcomes?
- How can we make communication about development efforts more ethical and more productive, in order to facilitate positive social change?
- Do project evaluations themselves, as a key form of communication about development, promote or deter funders’ and policymakers’ support for participatory practices?
- What role should project evaluations serve? If they function more as public relations tools than as learning tools, how can we make them more useful so that we can build theory and improve interventions?
- How can CAD (both project evaluations and communication through the mainstream media) better incorporate the voices of the stakeholders that development efforts strive to serve?
Dr. Kogen earned her Ph.D. in Communication from the University of Pennsylvania, an M.A. in Cinema Studies from New York University, and a B.A. in Economics from Stanford University.