The WFD Research programme was launched in 2016 with the principal aim of building an evidence base for and improving the quality of democracy assistance work done by the Foundation and its implementing partners. The programme now works on thematic issues important in a functioning democracy and also tests WFD programme activities to contribute to the democracy assistance knowledge base. 

In its first phase, WFD research focused on four thematic areas: norms and standards, space and access, process and practice, and on how to deliver democracy support.