UNESCO aims to improve literacy policies and practices through qualitative and quantitative research. The Organization is also undertakes research for the purpose of monitoring and evaluation as well as for literacy assessment.
- One major publication on the status of literacy is the Global Monitoring Report (GMR), which provides annual updates on the status of global literacy and other EFA goals. The 2006 issue of the GMR, "Literacy for Life" is entirely dedicated to literacy ).
- Through the UNITWIN /UNESCO Chairs Programme UNESCO collaborates with universities, specialized research institutions, and civil society organizations in promoting and undertaking research in the field of literacy.
- Through its function as a clearing house of information on literacy, UNESCO maps existing cutting-edge research, promotes the development of networks, and provides a platform for the exchange of dialogue and the dissemination of ideas.
UNESCO’s Institutes also support research: the Institute for Lifelong Learning (UIL) works in the areas of literacy, non-formal education, adult and lifelong learning, while the UNESCO Institute for Statistics (UIS) provides global data and indicators on literacy, which are updated on an annual basis.
Information is also made available through publications, databases, and the UNESCO literacy portal.