Synthesis report

Research methods: Lessons learned from the Joint Fund for Poverty Alleviation Research

This evidence on research methods is a synthesis from 122 research grants awarded by the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) and UK Department for International Development (DFID) Joint Fund for Poverty Alleviation Research since 2005. The analysis is based on a thematic analysis across all of the grants, and of the impact pathways in the 15 impact reports completed 12 months after the end of the project. It is based on the Evidence Synthesis Research Award (ESRA) for Research Methods by Laura Camfield, Maren Duvendack and Will Monteith.

The insights have relevance across many research areas, and consider topics such as:

  • benefits of mixed approaches and multi-country research
  • effects of choice of discipline on choice of method
  • engaging with Southern researchers
  • ethics and whether data should be archived as a public good
  • quality of research and different methodological approaches

 

Methodology is one of four areas that the ESRC and DFID tasked four groups of researchers to look at, across the diverse projects funded through the Joint Fund. The resulting reports are valuable pieces of knowledge and rich sources of information which we all hope will be of interest to a broad range of audiences. They highlight the specific achievements and contributions of Joint Fund research - to knowledge about development issues, to methods and approaches to researching these, and to supporting social and economic impact.

The ESRA also point to spaces where more research would be valuable, issuing challenges both to researchers and funders to consider how they continue to drive, as well as respond to, evolving development agendas and changing global circumstances.

A series of summaries to capture these findings and their implications for policymakers as well as for researchers also accompany the main reports, produced by the Impact Initiative.

The reports

Research methods Evidence Synthesis Research Award 
Camfield, L., Duvendack, M., Monteith, W., School of International Development, University of East Anglia, 2016
The analysis is based on a thematic analysis across all of the grants, and of the impact pathways in the 15 impact reports completed 12 months after the end of the project. This guide is intended to help researchers in their choice of research method not as a definitive resource, but a practical summary of lessons learned from the methodologies that have been used across 122 research projects funded by the ESRC-DFID Joint Fund for Poverty Alleviation Research over the period 2005 to 2014.
PDF 2MB

Lessons learned on Research Methods from the Joint Fund for Poverty Alleviation
Rose, P. Research for Equitable Access and Learning (REAL) Centre, University of Cambridge
Summary of the review and synthesis
PDF 253 KB

 

Responses

The Evidence Synthesis Research Awards (ESRA): a response from ESRC and DFID, 2016

 

Other Joint Fund Evidence Synthesis Research Awards (ESRA)


Gender Evidence Synthesis Research Award

Bradshaw, S., Linnekar, B., Nussey, C., Sanders-McDonagh, E., Middlesex University 2015

New knowledge on the gendered nature of poverty and wellbeing adds a crucial element in the understanding of the impact of poverty, and this analysis provides valuable insights in a number of key areas. This evidence is a synthesis from 122 research grants awarded by the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) and UK Department for International Development (DFID) Joint Fund for Poverty Alleviation Research since 2005.

 
Health and Development Evidence Synthesis Research Award
Venkatapuram., S.
, King's College London, Coutts, A., University of Cambridge, and Mall, P., 2016

A review of all the funded projects was undertaken as evidence related to health requires looking for both proximate (such as access to clean water and medical services) as well as distal pathways (such as education and social protection systems), beyond just clinical or public health interventions. 69 of 121 (57%) funded research studies examined or produced evidence which have a direct or indirect relevance and impact on health/health services.

New Knowledge on Children and Young People Evidence Synthesis Research Award
Marcus, R., Stephenson, J., Walker, D., Overseas Development Institute 2015

The report - New knowledge on children and young people – a Synthesis of Evidence from the ESRC-DFID Joint Fund for Poverty Alleviation Research authored by the Overseas Development Institute (ODI), assesses the contribution of the Joint Fund scheme’s research since 2005 to the body of knowledge around CYP issues and ways in which their life chances can be improved.
PDF 19.9MB