The NGO Knowledge Collective

The NGO Knowledge Collective (NKC) is a collaborative research platform for studying NGOs that work in developing countries.  Jennifer Brass, Wes Longhofer, Rachel Robinson, and Allison Schnable started the NKC in 2015 in order to synthesize the academic literature on NGOs, which is published across multiple disciplines and journals and covers numerous countries and sectors.  This diversity makes it very difficult to provide summative statements about the literature, as well as to find out what’s already known when conducting a literature review or starting a research project.  The results of that synthesis of more than 3000 articles published since 1980 appeared in World Development in 2018.  The goal of the NKC is to make that database of articles publicly available and easily searchable, as well as to use it to launch further collaborative research on NGOs.

As a starting point, the World Development paper identifies three main areas for collaboration and future research:

  1. Understudied countries and country-sector combinations
  2. Collaborations with researchers from the Global South as well as people who work for NGOs
  3. Research designs with more clearly specified counterfactuals

The NKC hopes that this web site can help foster connections between scholars who, collaboratively, can address any of these three areas.

Use, Cite, Share

We would be grateful if you would cite this data portal in your work. Preferred citation:

Schnable, Allison, Jennifer N. Brass, Rachel S. Robinson, and Wesley Longhofer. 2019. NGO Knowledge Collective Data Portal.

Please email us at, and we will add you to the Bibliography of papers that have drawn on these data.


Brass, Jennifer N., Wesley Longhofer, Rachel S. Robinson, and Allison Schnable. “NGOs and international development: A review of thirty-five years of scholarship.” World Development 112 (2018): 136-149.

Schnable, Allison, Anthony DeMattee, Rachel S. Robinson, and Jennifer N. Brass. “International Development Buzzwords: Understanding Their Use Among Donors, NGOs, Academics.” Forthcoming in Journal of Development Studies. Access pre-print.

Our Funders

About the Site

The website design, map construction, and keyword searches were created by CyberDH, Research Technologies, UITS at Indiana University. The topic model uses InPhO Topic Explorer with integration by Jaimie Murdock.