When information is lacking (contributing factors, behaviors...) or when confidence in causal links is low, you can plan a research agenda and highlight information that you quickly need and collect data on in order to strengthen your project strategy. So, if my understanding is correct, in that case, research is a work package part of the project. But in order to design a relevant theory of change, you may need this info before planning for activities. In that case, should this information be collected in the pre-project phase during stakeholder consultations? But you may not have yet secured a budget for this? I find it a bit difficult to know when info should be collected in the pre-project phase and when it can be part of the project itself (as per the "do something" principle).
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