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Showing posts from June, 2014

Can Qualitative Research be Rigorous? Part 2: The Value of Qualitative Research Methods for Impact Evaluation

For the remaining segments of this series, I’m going to specifically focus on the role of qualitative research in the context of impact evaluation. It is often the case that qualitative methods go under-appreciated in this context – after all, the focus is usually on outcomes – and it’s not always obvious how qualitative research can contribute. Yet, qualitative research methods can be incredibly useful for impact evaluations. In this section, I’ll discuss a few ways in which qualitative research can help make an impact evaluation stronger.
Briefly, let’s consider why qualitative information is useful in the first place.
Anyone who has had the dissatisfaction of receiving a single score on a written exam, essay or performance evaluation, with no further explanation, can probably understand the value of qualitative information. Let’s say this score was high, for example 98 out of 100. Not so bad, you think to yourself, and maybe you don’t worry too much about it. But still, some small pa…

How to Increase Formal Savings for the Papad-Makers of Dharavi Slum

We feature a post by Mudita Tiwari and Deepti Kc, featured on the Financial Access Initiative blog. In Dharavi, Mumbai, the largest urban slum in Asia, groups of women make papad, crispy lentil dough wafers, for Lijjat Papad Company, one of the world’s largest papad retailers.  Lijjat requires any woman who works for the enterprise to first open a savings account, and to encourage savings, the company deposits a small proportion of the women’s earnings (2 rupees of every 32 rupees earned) directly into the savings accounts, adding a bonus during the Diwali festival.
Funded by a grant from Institute for Money Technology and Financial Inclusionat the University of California, Irvine, we interviewed 25 of these women entrepreneurs.  In our research, we wanted to understand whether the women, accustomed to a traditionally cash economy, would continue to use cash now that they had access to banking services like brick-and-mortar branches, ATMs, credit and debit cards and checks, and which cu…

Training: A Way to Improve Data Quality

Currently, I'm involved in the field team training for a second round of data collection for the Bricks project. As we're in the intervention part of the study, this round is going to be as interesting and challenging as the previous round. There are a few important aspects which, if emphasized at the time of training, could help not only improve the data quality but also reduce the time and effort needed for consecutive rounds of data cleaning.
Here are a couple of pointers from our training: Correct Respondent Identification: If the enumerators are entrusted with the responsibility of identifying the respondent, then the recruitment criteria should be clearly explained and listed. Along with this, all possible cases of contradictions, eliminations and preferences should also be explained. If there is already an identified respondent then the replacement cases should be dealt with specifically. Under all circumstances, any conflict should be reported immediately and the field…