SIRLab is able to fulfill its Purpose through its regimented research process. This 6-stage process, detailed here, is how we approach each of our projects, regardless of partner organization or country of operation.
1 | DISCUSS
SIRLab partners with development organizations that are seeking to experiment and improve upon their existing programming – not those who are simply seeking to validate the success of their current activities. Thus, projects being with an open and honest discussion about the organization’s current set of challenges. Often, this conversation is broadly driven by the question, “what’s keeping you (the organization’s leadership) awake at night?”
2 | IDENTIFY
From those conversations, SIRLab seeks to identify which of those challenges SIRLab has the capacity to address, and that also presents the best opportunity for creating new theoretical knowledge. This typically involves a comprehensive review of existing theory and academic literature. The development organization and SIRLab then jointly agree on which of those challenges to focus upon. To see the list of challenges and projects that we are currently working on, or those that we have completed in the past, please visit our Projects page.
3 | ASSEMBLE
Once a particular challenge is agreed upon, SIRLab assembles a team of scholars from its global network with the relevant expertise. Teams typically consist of at least one scholar with the required theoretical expertise, one scholar with the required methodological expertise, and on scholar (often local) with the required cultural and contextual expertise. SIRLab also conducts an initial 3-day working involving our development partners and research teams to lay the initial groundwork for the study design. Visit our Experts page to learn about the scholars behind SIRLab’s projects.
Each research team then undertakes a 10-14 day trip to the communities where the development project is taking place. While there, the SIRLab team conducts a number of interviews with the development organization’s staff, beneficiaries, and other stakeholders, to gain a holistic understanding of the potential underlying causes of the challenge. The SIRLab team then combines all of these field insights with their theoretical expertise to design one or more interventions to be pilot tested.
With the overall intervention designed, the SIRLab team works with the development organization personnel to create a detailed timeline and protocol for implementing the pilot. The team also works with the development organization to collect a series of baseline measures for later comparison. Once the pilot’s pre-determined time period is complete, measures are again collected and the quantitative data analyzed. Finally, the team then embarks on another 10-14 day trip to conduct qualitative interviews, gaining deeper insights on the pilot and its results.
The SIRLab team then prepares a presentation and final report for partner organization leadership, detailing the major findings from the pilot, and other considerations, such as suggestions for scaling the intervention or alterations to consider. At the same time, the team prepares an academic manuscript of the study for submission to a top management journal. Finally, a number of general insights are prepared and made accessible to other organizations and professionals in the field that are doing similar work and/or in similar countries. To access those resources, please visit our Insights page.