Impact evaluations using experimental methods, e.g., randomized control trials (RCTs), is one of our key strengths. We have a strong track record in experimental research in poverty reduction and skills development. We are expanding our experimental research in other topics, e.g., women's empowerment, climate change adaptation, and digitization. We also do large-scale surveys, often with nationally representative samples, to help policymakers and practitioners better understand important issues.

Can we reduce the cost of skills training yet maintain or even increase its impact? An RCT to help BRAC find more scalable, effective solutions for upskilling underprivileged youth.

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BIGD has an unmatched track record of qualitative research in Bangladesh. The State of Governance, a flagship yearly publication of BIGD, primarily utilizes qualitative research techniques to provide thorough analyses of critical governance issues in Bangladesh. Realizing the potential of qualitative methods for a nuanced inquiry of complex development challenges, we established a small yet ambitious Qualitative Research Team in 2020.

Our new qualitative research team is dedicated to introducing advanced, innovative research methods to BIGD and taking on challenging qualitative research projects.

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Action and participatory

BIGD collaborates with stakeholders to conceptualize models, then pilot and scale them through continuous research and adaptation. For example, we have been working with the government for years to develop and incorporate a citizen engagement model in government procurement through the Digitizing Implementation Monitoring and Public Procurement Project (DIMAPPP).

We also conduct participatory research to actively involve participants themselves in the research process, capturing their unfiltered perspectives and experiences. For example, during the COVID-19 pandemic, we frequently employed peer researchers in slums to document lived experiences and community responses.

Mixed method

We frequently follow a mixed method in our research because development challenges are complex and can only be understood and solved using multiple lenses. Our gender research team regularly combines large-scale surveys with advanced qualitative methods to understand, for example, how pervasive cultural and religious norms and values affect women’s empowerment in countries like Bangladesh.

Gender norms and women’s occupational choice

In 2015, BIGD conducted a representative survey of women from different districts of Bangladesh, combining in-depth interviews with a sub-sample of women to understand how different cultural barriers interact with the economic considerations in women’s occupational choices. The study finds that strong social stigma against many available employment opportunities for women forces many women to choose home-based, low-paying work despite clear economic incentives to take up outside employment.

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