In a rapidly evolving world, a contextual understanding of social processes is crucial for development action. If research is to be fruitfully employed in saving lives, reducing poverty and improving the quality of life, then accurate knowledge of the way in which people interpret their social situations, their understanding of their ‘lived’ experience, and their strategies in coping with poverty is decisive. Careful tracking of the results of social and technical intervention helps to locate useful responses. It is within this context of research of the development process, and with the aim of improving policy and practice through the deployment of public and private resources, that The Research Group has been constituted.
The Research Group facilitates this mandate by drawing upon both quantitative and qualitative approaches. Qualitative research is key as an area that is less resourced in the Indian subcontinent. Quantitative research skills are brought to bear on particular research problems in studies that demand such an approach and in settings in which robust qualitative data is difficult to obtain. Partner organizations with particular capabilities are drawn in as needed.
The Research Group undertakes the following activities:
- Formative research studies to inform development projects.
- Research support to operational programs including through strategic literature review and data analysis.
- Development, oversight and execution of multi-country research projects.
- Sector studies to increase understanding of linkages between research and policy and to generate practical recommendations, for example, on strategies for networks and coalitions.
- Comparative analysis of specific interventions that identify practical recommendations for strategies that work in different contexts.
- Episodic studies of a policy intervention across social and/or political contexts to evaluate existing processes.
- Social assessments of projects to define vulnerabilities of particular population groups to project related effects and to design instruments for generating the social information and response.