The IDS found that only 21 per cent of people felt informed about UK aid.
IDS director Lawrence Haddad said: 'This research makes it clear that improving public awareness and understanding of aid would help to encourage public support.
'At a time when the Government is committed to protecting the UK's aid spend, it is more important than ever that we communicate the experiences faced by poor people around the world, and the success stories of aid having a positive impact.'
The research revealed that 58 per cent of respondents felt the UK should not give aid to India, with only four in ten aware that it had more poor people than anywhere else in the world.
The report presented results from several surveys undertaken during 2010 and 2011 with 1,500 respondents. The most recent was conducted in August 2011, with 1,492 responses.
In response, International Broadcasting Trust director Mark Galloway said: 'Our own research demonstrated that most people in the UK find out about aid and development issues from the media, particularly TV news.
'The media and non-governmental organisations have a key role to play in explaining some of the complexities and limitations to the general public.'