While it is always interesting to hear about interesting approaches to data collection and analysis – and a lot of this feeds into thoughts/reactions I had while attending (by complete happenstance) the first day of the Doing Development Differently workshop at the Kennedy school, in this blog, I wanted to quickly highlight something that caught my eye in Duncan’s blog
Its this bit in particular:
“What we did next was not to go to the program sites, but spend some more time in the headquarters. We were interested in the perspectives of a variety of people involved with implementation, from the managers to those involved in everyday activities on the ground. And what we sought to understand was not only what the project had achieved, but also what people had thought it might do at the outset and what had surprised them”
The focus on measuring impact on the ground often obscures the focus on understanding how projects are delivered. That’s one of the reasons why researchers have so little in their papers on the context and implementation of the interventions they seem to be studying (which is one of the many good points Heather makes in this blog when she laments the lack of ‘intervention description’). Often implementation staff perspectives are not only considered extraneous to the key research questions, but they are also sometimes actively blocked out so that research findings are not biased: guess only the biases of the researcher get to make it to the final paper/report. Talking to programme staff can not only provide key insights and lessons to implementation, but also elevate their status from being foot soldiers that executed a project logframe to leaders and innovators in their own right, who came up with creative solutions to complex and emergent situations on the ground (or not!).
Look forward to reading the full paper; and more thoughts on the DDD workshop, coming up soon (hopefully).