Preparing the Report
As elsewhere among the modules, the steps need not necessarily be undertaken in the order shown here. Data collection will probably be ongoing, for example. Moreover, for the sake of the convenience of presentation and understanding, the steps described in this module are segregated from the steps sketched out in the module on drafts and publication, but, in practice, some of the research and analysis will necessarily occur simultaneously with the drafting process. Finally, it bears repeating that consultation, the active participation of all stakeholders and partners, and advocacy should be among the constant elements across all steps in this module and across all the modules.
Establish a Production Schedule
Table 1 lists possible steps in the research and analysis during the preparation of a national or regional Human Development Report.
|Research||Data collection and processing|
|Analysis||Address the general theme of human development
Address the specific theme and related issues
Evaluate relevant national development policies
|Results||Develop report conclusions
|Permanent||Participation, consultation and partnerships
A production schedule should be established through consultations with all members of the report team and related structures, especially the steering committee. It should cover every phase of report production from research to first draft, second draft and so on. Practical deadlines for the achievement of each phase should be determined with a reasonable expectation they may be met.
Appoint a coordinator to monitor the production schedule and production deadlines. The coordinator should be associated with the institutional focal point or located in the lead institution. The coordinator should assist the team and the lead institution in managing the HDR process and planning ahead to keep on track, on time and on budget. The coordinator should do this work with an eye to assisting the HDR team and the steering committee in following the United Nations Development Programme’s results-based management framework. Introducing a results-based approach enhances management effectiveness and accountability by defining anticipated results that are realistic, monitoring progress towards the achievement of these results, integrating lessons learned into management decisions and reporting on performance.
Carry Out Comprehensive Data Collection and Processing
The careful collection of high-quality data during the HDR process is essential for two main reasons. First, the inclusion of precise, up-to-date data enhances the value of an HDR as an information resource. Second, the availability of detailed data supports accurate analysis during the preparation of the report.
The steps in a sound methodology for comprehensive data collection would probably include at least the following:
- Conduct a survey of the data available on the theme of the HDR and related issues and on human development indicators The statistics departments of the UN regional commissions, International Labour Organization, UNDP, UNICEF, the World Bank, the World Health Organization and other international organizations, as well as specialized governmental, non-governmental and civil society organizations, are rich repositories of a broad range of useful data.
- Establish an institutional partnership on data issues with national statistics agencies. At the local or regional level, the data produced by international organizations may not be sufficiently detailed or nuanced. The assistance of national statistics agencies is therefore crucial in the collection or production of reliable, relevant qualitative and quantitative data. It is good practice to build a relationship with the national statistical agency and discuss all the data in the report with them: they are often best placed to help find appropriate data, and alert you to problems with the data that you are planning to use. In countries with weak statistical capacity, the HDR team should encourage these stakeholders to participate in the HDR process. Indeed, a subsidiary goal of the HDR process should be to promote national capabilities in data collection and analysis. UNDP can assist in this effort.
- Examine regularly the availability, reliability and relevance of data. Revisit questionable data, update data and fill data gaps (figure 1).
- Explore data disaggregation. National or regional averages may mask significant development disparities and pockets of deprivation within a population. By disaggregating national or regional data by various population categories (gender, place of urban or rural residence, age, regional location, religious affiliation, ethnic group, and so on), the HDR team can begin to achieve a better understanding of, for example, the distribution of poverty and the nature of development inequalities. The team can also disaggregate time series to evaluate development trends among individual population groups, regions, or sectors.
- Participatory qualitative assessments also represent a way to understand people’s perspectives on development within their own reality (box 1) and offer people the opportunity to express their aspirations and participate in advocating for policies that reflect these aspirations. Non-statistical, contextual data are also useful in conducting stakeholder and institutional analyses to shape policy recommendations, as well as in identifying critical issues demanding prompt policy responses.
Instituting broad-based consultations
Participatory mechanisms involving organized structures for dialogue are necessary to enhance research and analysis with information on the needs, views and experiences of stakeholders on the theme and related issues. These mechanisms necessarily involve consultations, which may encompass conferences, ad hoc meetings, workshops, brainstorming sessions, focus groups, interviews, and so on, with people in various groups identified by rural or urban location, age, gender, socio-economic status and so forth.
Such participatory mechanisms and consultations promote local ownership of the HDR process. They also help generate public interest in the report, engage stakeholders in efforts to provide validation for the report’s findings and represent a first step in mobilizing public action to implement the report’s recommendations.
The human development community
The government and the UNDP Country Office, Regional Bureau, or Regional Centre should be urged to become partners in research and analysis. They can also act as a gateway to national, regional and international expertise. For national reports, Country Offices are encouraged to draw on the expertise of Regional Bureaux, Regional Centres and policy advisors at critical points during the HDR process. Likewise, international institutional partners and stakeholders such as UNDP, UNICEF, the World Health Organization and the World Bank, as well as national non-governmental development actors and civil society organizations at every level, should be tapped for their views and expertise, data, experiences and useful case studies. Appropriate mechanisms might include one-time consultations, periodic contacts, joint research and data-gathering efforts and so on. The goal should also be regular exchanges of data, analysis, experiences and good practices across the country or the region.
Best practice in consultation
Implementing best practice in consultation requires appropriate tools so that the HDR team can engage stakeholders while establishing an environment that encourages close listening, an understanding of the positive value of suggestions and action on sound recommendations. The following can help do this:
- The Human Development Report Office and the Bureau for Development Policy of UNDP can provide guidance and extensive practical support on the consultation process. This may include contacts with experts.
- Background materials for consultations should be carefully prepared and distributed beforehand. Participants might receive, for instance, a background note and a progress note on the HDR process, a consultation agenda, a concept note on the purpose of the consultation, selected research materials, guidance notes for any breakout groups, and questionnaires to gauge the views of participants on the consultation process that may then be used to improve future consultations.
- Team members, including authors and contributors, should take part in the consultations, which might be organized separately across various issues related to the theme. (See the module on the initial steps for examples of the stakeholders who might be targeted.) Ensure that the various components of the national or regional report team meet regularly to discuss the inputs gathered. All involved should meet together or separately, as required, so that they may remain informed and active in addressing the needs encountered and other matters involved in the preparation of the report and subsequent initiatives.
- Create a dedicated website and establish social media outlets. Using the website, email directories and social media, establish communities of practice and knowledge networks to share information and discuss findings. Hold regular public meetings, consultations and workshops and seek out additional public communication and consultation opportunities. The social networks and regular consultations should tie in with both the research effort and the drafting of the report. They should be inclusive and participatory and involve all key stakeholders. They should also involve brainstorming on the application of the human development approach to the HDR theme and related issues. Reports on the results of the consultations should be posted on the website to solicit comments, advice and other feedback.
Global HDRs are able to address development issues in individual countries or regions only broadly. National and regional report teams are much better placed to identify local patterns of inequality and exclusion and ultimately propose specific and concrete policy options. It is therefore essential for these teams to include a focus on an analysis of the national or regional Human Development Index.
National and regional HDR teams are also better placed to enhance the monitoring of challenges in human development at the national or regional level by providing data that are disaggregated to identify disparities across social groups defined by geographical position, religious affiliation, gender, socioeconomic status, or racial or ethnic identity.
It is important to remain attentive for innovative approaches to the measurement of development that respond more accurately to the particular needs of the country or region.
Use might also be made of other indices from the set presented in the most recent Human Development Report.
Additional surveys of critical aspects of human development would also be worthwhile. These might cover human rights, political freedoms, other areas of empowerment, participation, sustainability, human security, or a broader agenda for policy research to respond to national or regional development challenges.
Consult with the Human Development Report Office early about all indicators to ensure that the use is appropriate.
As part of overall planning for the media and communications strategy, decisions should be made now in the selection of appropriate measurement data on human development and the links between these data and specific advocacy objectives.
Table 2 provides a few examples of innovations in the measurement of development realized by HDR teams.
|Human Development Index||For detailed information on calculating the Human Development Index click here|
|Argentina, 2002 HDR||Broadened the HDI by adding quantitative measurements of infant mortality, unemployment and the quality of education|
|Colombia, 2003 HDR||Adjusted the HDI to include a measure of the effects of violence/td>|
|Costa Rica, 2005 HDR||Adjusted the HDI to explore the relationship between citizen insecurity and human development|
|Eastern Europe and Central Asia, 2003 HDR||Conducted cross-border household surveys of the Roma to create an HDI on the Roma in five countries of Central and Eastern Europe|
|Mongolia, 2003 HDR||Used an HDI that differentiated the population across urban and rural areas and across provinces and cities|
|Human empowerment index|
|Dominican Republic, 2008 HDR||Created an index composed of a sub-index to measure individual empowerment and a sub-index to measure collective empowerment|
|Nepal, 2004 HDR||Pioneered a human empowerment index to identify impoverished areas and excluded groups and to recommend appropriate policy action|
|Inequality-adjusted HDI||Inequality adjusted Human Development Index|
|Latin America and the Caribbean, 2010 HDR||Used household survey data on 18 countries in the region to develop an inequality-adjusted index of human development|
|Mexico, 2002 HDR||Created an index sensitive to inequalities in income, education and health|
|Mexico, 2010 HDR||Computed an inequality-adjusted HDI for each municipality and then for each state based on the inequalities measured in the municipalities within the state|
|Multidimensional poverty index||For detailed information on calculating the Multidimensional poverty index click here|
|Colombia, 2011||The Government launched a multidimensional poverty measure that covers a half-dozen dimensions through 15 indicators (the measure is not the focus of an HDR)|
|Mexico, 2009||The Government launched a multidimensional poverty measure combining two components: social rights and economic well-being (the measure is not the focus of an HDR)|
|Other indices||Gender Inequality Index|
|Bankura District, West Bengal, India, 2007 HDR||Used the human development radar concept to measure and compare eight human development indicators; also measured other indicators|
|Bosnia and Herzegovina, 2003, 2007 HDRs||Undertook a concerted effort at policy monitoring and the use of specially designed indicators on the Millennium Development Goals and on social exclusion|
|Thailand, 2003 HDR||Created a human achievement index that combined 40 specific indicators into eight components of human development|
Address the Specific HDR Theme and Related Issues
Identify and implement methods to research the theme. In some respects, these methods might mirror the conceptual framework adopted in the presentation of the analysis of the theme within the written report. (See the production module) The following steps might help:
- Clearly define the theme and pinpoint key issues related to the theme; establish a conceptual framework linking the theme and human development concerns. This effort should be a natural outgrowth of the initiatives undertaken during the selection of the theme.
- Carry out a literature review and create and maintain a repository of core documentation from local and external sources on the theme and related issues.
- Organize consultations and seminars on the theme and related issues. Participants might include readers and internal and external technical experts. The aim should be to identify and explore fundamental aspects of the theme, strategic policies in the area of the theme, relevant experiences in other countries, and sub-themes and other related issues. The consultations should occur in an atmosphere conducive to free-ranging debate on any topic, no matter how sensitive. Such an approach can also advance the advocacy effort and strengthen interest in the HDR process.
- Conduct interviews and surveys to capture the perspectives of people dealing with the issues analysed in the HDR as part of their daily lives. (Also include those who may traditionally be excluded such as women, the poor, ethnic minorities, inhabitants of remote communities, children, the elderly, people living with HIV/AIDS, the disabled and so on.
- • Commission experts to conduct background research and produce other background material. Identify local experts who can undertake conceptual research, carry out case studies and surveys to help deepen and broaden the analysis and the coverage of the report. Working with local experts enhances the national ownership of the report and can contribute to local debate, capacity-building and buy-in. In the event that international consultants are also used, involve the steering committee in the selection effort. The output should contribute directly to the content of the evolving analysis as much as possible. One aim should be to promote new knowledge creation.
Undertake a Critical Evaluation of Relevant Government Development Policies
Policy analysis should be a core activity of every HDR. This analysis involves synthesizing information, including research, to scrutinize systematically the causes and consequences of current policies; assess the performance of these policies and produce policy options. An HDR should not avoid difficult or sensitive issues. Sanitizing the analysis or seeking to conform to well-known or accepted positions may mean that important conclusions are missed. It is best to follow the evidence.
To realize sound policy analysis, the report team might consider the following steps:
- Convene meetings to determine the policy issues that the report will seek to address. Issues that relate to human development in the country in general and to the specific theme of the report should be examined from a policy perspective.
- Review the effectiveness of previous or current policies. Include an examination of policy-monitoring indicators that may be traced from year to year.
- Examine traditions, historical and cultural norms, and the social and economic environment to evaluate the local constraints on policy-making.
- Explore aspects of the regional and global context that broaden or limit government policy choices. Include the policies of other governments and regional or international institutions.
- Identify policy alternatives. Explore experiences in other countries that are grappling with similar issues under similar circumstances.
- Establish a benchmark scenario that indicates the outcome if current trends continue undisturbed. Carry out structured analyses of all alternatives, including cost-benefit analyses. For each option, gauge the benefits that will result if an extra X dollars are spent for each extra Y unit of service. Compare trade-offs in resource efficiency across outcomes. Identify potential winners and losers. Project and evaluate the possible micro-level impacts of policy shifts.
Based on the Evidence, Develop Appropriate Report Conclusions
Test the conclusions during consultations and seminars organized on the issues and perspectives contained in the report. All members of the national report team should participate, including readers, technical experts and peer reviewers.
Produce Clear, Concrete and Practical Recommendations
The result of the analysis of national development policies and alternatives should be the generation of solidly grounded, well-considered recommendations. They will promote public debate on development issues and in advocating for government initiatives to foster human development.
- Each recommendation should include a description and analysis of the basic intervention strategy, list the agencies that would implement the strategy and address the likely financing and other resource needs.
The figure lists possible steps in drafting and publishing a national or regional Human Development Report. For convenience of presentation and understanding, the steps in this module are segregated from the steps in the modules on research and analysis. In practice the two areas happen together.
1. Identify the Target Audience
Determine the target audience of the HDR — the groups at which the messages of the HDR are principally aimed — through consultation among the main stakeholders and partners. The target audience might encompass government policy makers, development donor agencies, educators and academic experts in development, private sector actors with special ties to the theme of the report, representatives of populaton groups that are particularly affected by the theme of the report, leading members of relevant non-governmental and civil society organizations, youth groups and women’s organizations, and so on. It is important to craft the messages in the report with a view to communicating directly with the target audience. Moreover, the contribution of the target audience should be sought during the drafting process. Because the target audience will also become one of the focuses of the advocacy strategy and of impact monitoring and assessment after the launch of the HDR, the participation of the target audience can help promote successful advocacy. Announce components of the target audience publicly early on as part of advocacy.
2. Tentatively Set the Outlines of the Report
Establishing the outlines of the report might involve meetings among the HDR team and other actors and stakeholders to discuss ways to enhance and expand the concept note and the project document and create detailed chapter outlines, including a proposed structure, the main headings and a projected length. Share the outcome as an advocacy tool and to solicit feedback widely (including from HDRO).
Prepare a First Full Draft
Produce draft chapters. The draft chapters should accomplish the following:
- Clearly define the theme, the purpose and objective of the report.
- Describe local conditions, including the economic context, the characteristics of the population (the social context, minorities, gender issues, conflicts, health, education, livelihoods), resource issues, the environment, foreign relations and so on.
- Supply a clear analysis of human development in the country or region. Investigate the root causes of constraints on human development. Track development gaps and their impact on population groups, especially the vulnerable. Incorporate analysis highlighting the advances achieved in human development.
- Examine the report’s theme. Establish a strong conceptual framework for scrutiny of the report’s theme through a human development lens. This might include a description of the links of the theme with human development, national or regional development priorities, past and current development policies and, wherever possible, other areas of development such as socio-economic development, development in education, political development, gender equality, health care and so on. Introduce updated national or regional indicators of development, including the Human Development Index. The analysis of these indicators should have a significant, independent place within the report, but could also be integral to the presentation of the theme and the related issues. Discuss the method of calculating the main indicators and note any data or conceptual difficulties.
- Identify related problems and issues (historical factors, impacts on the economy and society, health, governance, gender, risk management and so on). Describe problems encountered by people within the country or region who are regularly affected by the issues under consideration. Examine related problems and issues elsewhere that may add insight into the local situation.
- Focus the analysis on past and current government policies in the area of the theme. Through interviews, surveys, opinion polls, perception studies, focus groups and so on, capture the voices of a broad spectrum of people, including people in population segments that are affected negatively by current policies or the lack of clear policies in the area of the theme or that may be positively affected by reforms in these policies. (See below, under “hand the text over to the designer”.) Articulate, dissect and diagnose viable alternative policy approaches and solutions. Include any reasoned views that may contrast with widely held opinions. This can add weight and credibility to the analysis and may lead to innovations in thinking.
- Indicate research gaps that merit further study. In many cases, it may be up to the team to undertake research to fill the gaps or to present an analytical structure highlighting the gaps and demonstrating the critical nature of the gaps.
The draft chapters should be characterized by the following:
- Be relevant and readily accessible to the target audience.
- Show a progression in the presentation of the data and analysis within and across chapters: the flow of the arguments might be from the more general to the more specific, or it might gradually widen the coverage of aspects of the theme and the issues; in any case, the progression must be clear and easy to follow.
- Achieve a balance among the presentation of factual information, description and analysis; a variety of text boxes, graphs, statistical tables, photos and so on should complement and elucidate the text and bring the analysis into relief. (See below for more on presentation.)
Within the narrative, develop the conclusions of the report. The conclusions should be examined and reexamined regularly by the team and stakeholders during the generation of the various drafts of the report.
Identify well-reasoned, well-documented recommendations. Situate the analysis, conclusions and recommendations within the context of the country’s or region’s former and current development plans and policies. Accompany the recommendations with proposals on comprehensive implementation strategies and plans of action. Suggest institutions, rules, procedures and norms to support the implementation process. It can be tempting to include a great many recommendations. It can often be more effective to include fewer, more focused recommendations and suggest the priority for their introduction and how they will be paid for.
1. Submit the Draft for Internal Review
Share the first draft with the steering committee, the advisory committee, other advisors, the authors of background papers, stakeholders and other experts involved in the creation of the draft. One goal is to check for the appropriate use of data and the quality of the analysis. A stakeholder workshop may also be useful.
The resident representatives and regional directors of the United Nations Development Programme are responsible for protecting the public perception of non-partisanship that should be associated with UNDP and the United Nations, as well as the standard of quality that HDRs should exemplify. They should ensure that HDRs comply with the core principles outlined in the HDR quality assurance guidelines (on the POPP) and the procedures and standards detailed in the most recent UNDP publications policy . They should gauge the quality of the data; the soundness of the analysis; the openness, fairness and impartiality of the arguments; and the coherence and consistency of the recommendations.
2. Prepare and Submit a New Draft for External Peer Review
An effort should be made to take on board all reviewers’ comments. If the authors disagree with the comments then they should respond to those who have commented explaining why their comments have not been taken on board.
- Prepare the text for review by incorporating the feedback from the consultations on the first full draft, adjusting the analysis and sharpening arguments and the principal messages as needed.
- Share the draft with key outside experts so as to check the analysis and the use of data and to test messages.
- Every national and regional HDR should be peer reviewed. If relevant, organize a statistical review with technical experts to control for accuracy and methodological rigour. Other experts, including foreign consultants, might also be engaged in the review process.
The review might even be conducted by a peer committee composed of, for example, representatives of partner organizations, the private sector, academia, civil society and policy makers.
The external peer review should be designed to contribute to the impartiality of an HDR. It is therefore fundamental in ensuring the quality and credibility of an HDR, and, for this reason, the peer review process should be described directly in the HDR.
UNDP offers assistance in conducting peer reviews.
3. Prepare and Submit the Final Draft for Executive Review
- Incorporate feedback from the peer review and related consultations, as appropriate, into the final draft.
- Summarize the recommendations in one or two locations in the text, usually in front or back, but also in strategic locations within the relevant chapters. Group the recommendations appropriately, but also with a view to drawing the attention of an audience that may not always be willing or able to read the report from cover to cover. Certainly, the chief recommendations should be provided, along with brief, but cogent analysis, in the introduction, overview, or executive summary, whichever of these is available and suitable. Use the introduction, overview, or executive summary to target especially the busy reader who has time only to digest the principal points. For this reason, brief chapter summaries might also be added.
- Formulate the main messages and position them in a highly visible part of the report. The main messages may encompass the recommendations, but they should also include significant findings and noteworthy data that have proven important in the analysis, particularly new data. Seek the assistance of the follow-up group in identifying the main messages that will be highlighted during the implementation of the media and communications strategy at launch and during follow-up. The follow-up group should play a role in sharpening these messages.
- Prepare front and back matter. Include the following:
- Title page and back cover, copyright page, table of contents, foreword (optional), abstract (optional), preface (optional), acknowledgements (optional), list of contributors (optional), list of abbreviations and acronyms (optional), and introduction, overview, or executive summary
- A description of the HDR preparation process and methodology; this should appear in the introduction
- Footnotes or endnotes
- Appendices or annexes (optional): A non-statistical annex contains materials that support an argument, but would encumber the main text if it were added there; examples include summaries of theoretical perspectives, summaries of qualitative data and the related collection methodology, anecdotal material, additional exposition of points in the report, and the text of relevant legislation
- Glossary of statistical or technical terms (optional)
- A complete bibliography or reference list of all source material, including data sources (which may be included in the footnotes or endnotes)
- Index (optional, but recommended)
- Undertake an executive review. In line with UNDP publications policy, before they are published, national HDRs should be reviewed and endorsed by resident representatives, and regional HDRs should be reviewed by the Office of the Administrator of UNDP. As a practical matter, it is therefore important to keep the Country Office, Regional Bureaux, Regional Centres and the Human Development Report Office informed at critical points throughout the HDR process.
- The chief statistician at HDRO should be consulted on engagement with national statistics agencies, as well as on the agreement on HDI-related indicators with the United Nations Statistical Commission. HDRO is also often available to review draft HDRs to assess the rigour with which the human development approach and statistical methodologies, particularly the measurement of the HDI and other human development indicators, are applied.
- In the case of reports deemed politically sensitive, the Regional Bureaux or Regional Centres and HDRO may advise additional review and clearance by the UNDP Office of the Administrator. Political sensitivity can be determined by country-specific circumstances and visibility in international debate. The early distribution of a concept note is critical in managing such a situation in a timely manner.
- Despite these necessary burdens of review and endorsement, national and regional HDRs should contain a standard disclaimer wherein the authors take full responsibility for the contents of the reports and UNDP, its Executive Board and its member states are disassociated from any responsibility. The disclaimer might take the following form:
- The views expressed in this publication are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily represent the views of the United Nations Development Programme, the United Nations generally, or United Nations Member States.
- Author names should not appear on the front cover; they may appear on the inside title page.
4. Establish and Print the Final Product
HDRs range over economic and social issues in detail to frame often complex policy considerations. They therefore do not normally entice a readership among the general public. However, they do seek to draw the attention of busy practitioners, researchers, policy makers and development donors. For this reason, they must stand out within the crowded field of development publications.
To achieve this, a successful HDR should be characterized by engaging language and attractive layout. A presentation that is efficient, but also varied greatly increases the chances that the members of the target audience will pick up an HDR, read it and discover its messages.
Prepare the text. Provide the text to the editor and the translator (if necessary) as follows:
- Acquire the UNDP style manual and review other national and regional HDRs to determine the appropriate look of the report. Establish a preferred style for report formatting, spelling, references, and so on. Authors, writers, editors and proofreaders should become familiar with the preferred style.
- Hand the text over to the editor, who should check for consistency and accuracy and ensure that the language and style are tight, harmonious and engaging, conform to the preferred style and the UNDP style manual and reinforce the messages of the report.
- Assign the copyright owner according to national and international laws and regional practice. Obtain an ISBN for commercial distribution. Ensure that the year of the launch and the year on the cover are the same as the year on the copyright page.
- Provide information within the text on the method of gaining access to the hard copy and online versions of the report. It has been established in UNDP publications policy that published reports must be made available online prior to media and advocacy outreach. HDRO can assist country offices in posting HDRs online. The existence of the website offers opportunities to use the website as a communication and advocacy tool.
- Begin the translation of the report, if necessary. The entire report should be available in the main national or regional language and other local languages. An effort should be made also to produce the report in English, French, or Spanish. If this is not financially feasible, key sections and summaries containing the principal messages, findings and recommendations should be translated into local languages and English, French, or Spanish (or all of these).
- Hand the text over to the designer
- Turning the elements of an HDR – the analysis, quantitative data, case studies, voices of stakeholders and so on – into a report that is straightforward, but that is eye-catching and stimulates interest requires creativity in layout and design.
The designer should tailor the report as much as possible to appeal to the target audience. The front cover makes the first impression. It should convey the report’s theme in a clear, but intriguing way. Photographs, drawings, maps, or photos can all pique a reader’s curiosity.
If an HDR process has been sufficiently participatory, the points of view of local actors and other people living in communities who regularly come into contact with the themes and issues analysed in the report have been examined. The inclusion of such material lends a fresh, immediate quality that enriches the text and readily draws the attention of readers. (The designer might focus on creating an attractive presentation for this material that resonates with the target audience and adds to the credibility of the report.
The following are some other basic principles:
- Balance: arrange the page so that the composition of the components – text, tables, boxes, graphics, photos and illustrations, messages and data – appears light and simple, yet varied.
Consistency: maintain specific presentational styles across like features to help readers recognize and navigate easily through the various components.
- Contrast: explore the use of size, colour and typeface to add variety.
- Proximity: present elements close together or far apart to suggest a relationship or a lack of relationship.
- Judicious use of space: Each design element should have a clear and practical purpose, and contribute to an uncluttered page. Ensure the reader does not become fatigued because pages lack white space and appear crammed with information. Margins can be used to highlight messages or to contain interesting design elements such as titles, photos and artwork.
- Print the report. In a timely manner, confirm a partnership with HDRO and United Nations publications (see Box 2 below) or a commercial publisher. If an HDR team would like to explore the possibility of relying on a commercial publishing, it should establish the appropriate contacts during the initial steps of HDR preparation. HDRO can offer advice on a publisher and, together with the report team, can investigate using a general commercial publisher, a university press, or a publisher specialized in the social sciences. (Box 2 below provides relevant information from the “HDRO Note on Commercial Publishing”.) Consider proposing the publication to the most prestigious publisher in the country or region. Local publishers likely have better local distribution networks and more experience with local demand. They may offer editing, copyediting, design, production and printing services, along with promotion, sales, copyright registration and reprint agreements. International publishers such as Oxford University Press regularly publish the HDRs of some countries and regions.