Rigorous Research

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In this image: A respondent (left) inputs his signature on a tablet to indicate his consent for an IPA survey in Burkina Faso. © 2017 Florent Malo
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IPA conducts rigorous impact evaluations of programs and policies to address real constraints to development using the best scientific methods available.

With our network of researchers and partners, we identify pressing problems faced by people living in poverty, formulate key research questions, discover innovative solutions, and understand which development interventions work, which do not, and why. We also proactively mobilize and support decision-makers to use these solutions to build better programs and policies at scale.

The core competence of IPA is in the successful design and evaluation of development interventions using randomized controlled trials (RCTs). We use RCTs where possible because they are the most effective means at our disposal to evaluate potential solutions to poverty, just as they are the most effective means of evaluating modern medicine. We have used RCTs to study various interventions, including programs addressing childhood education, health care, water quality, microfinance, agriculture, and gender equity and empowerment.

While we specialize in RCTs, we believe that clearly defined research questions should drive the evaluation method, instead of the other way around. Thanks to the talent and expertise of our staff, IPA is not restricted to the RCT methodology. We focus on impact evaluations with rigorous and compelling identification strategies to answer policy-relevant questions.

Research Expertise

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High-Quality Data

Drawing on the wealth of local knowledge and surveying experience IPA has built through our country offices, IPA drives and promotes innovations in research design, measurement tools, data collection, and quality control.

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Ethics & IPA IRB

IPA’s Institutional Review Board (IRB) provides regulatory oversight to studies in the countries where IPA operates. The IRB is hosted by IPA and its administrative functions are handled by IPA staff, but it is independent of IPA management and research teams.

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Research Methods

The Research Methods Initiative, a collaboration between IPA and the Global Poverty Research Lab at Northwestern University, supports systematic studies into how to improve the methods and measurement in global research on poverty.

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Technical Review

Our Applied Research and Methods group can review technical aspects of study designs and project proposals, including pre-analysis and sampling plans, to ensure that research has the greatest chance of success in answering important questions.

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Research Support

IPA ensures high-quality research design, questionnaire design, data collection, data management, and data analysis by strengthening the skills of research staff and creating research resources as a public good.

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