Latest blogs

Applications of nighttime light data in international development research

The increasing availability of remotely-sensed measurements of nighttime light intensity across space and time opens the door to new possibilities to understand how the Earth is changing. These insights can improve decision-making to guide policy, deliver services, and improve governance in near real-time. However, accelerated human modifications of the landscape and human activities are profoundly affecting the processes on the Earth's surface, both locally and globally, creating a variety of challenges for scientists and policymakers in understanding global change and its repercussions.

Mapping the impact of urbanization on vegetation in Nairobi, the 'green city in the sun’

In August 2021, 3ie and New Light Technologies co-led a series of capacity-building workshops with 10 researchers from the African Population and Health Research Center (APHRC) on the potential to use remotely-sensed geospatial data for impact evaluation. This blog is the third in a series of four in which workshop participants reflect on the uses of remotely-sensed and geospatial data.

Geospatial data for measuring vegetation impact on agricultural productivity

In August 2021, 3ie and New Light Technologies co-led a series of capacity-building workshops with 10 researchers from the African Population and Health Research Center (APHRC) on the potential to use remotely-sensed geospatial data for impact evaluations. This blog is the second in a series of four in which workshop participants reflect on the uses of remotely-sensed and geospatial data.

Machine learning and remote sensing: New evaluation tools, especially to measure land-use

In August 2021, 3ie and New Light Technologies co-led a series of capacity-building workshops with 10 researchers from the African Population and Health Research Center on the potential to use remotely-sensed geospatial data for impact evaluations. This blog is the first in a series of four in which workshop participants reflect on the uses of remotely-sensed and geospatial data.

TREE Review Framework – Reimagining ethics review and oversight

At 3ie, we are refining a process to help research teams consider the ethics questions raised in social science research and document their decisions. Our Transparent, Reproducible, and Ethical Evidence (TREE) Review Framework complements the necessary work of Institutional Review Board (IRBs) while ensuring we do not outsource our ethical judgement to them.

The four essentials of supporting artisans’ group enterprises

In this blog we draw from the experiences of the two leaders as they navigated the journey of setting up and supporting artisans’ collective enterprises. Both these leaders, Vijaya Switha Grandhi and Prerna Agarwal, and their organizations, Chitrika Foundation and Urmul Trust, respectively, have been working for several years to support artisans, particularly women artisans, to transform from wage workers to entrepreneurs and leaders.

Swashakt: Women leaders on collective entrepreneurship and empowerment

What does the journey of promoting non-farm livelihoods in rural India and empowering women in the process look like in practice? Our conversation with two women leaders answers this question and shines light on key learnings from lived experiences. Vijaya Switha Grandhi and Prerna Agarwal have been working with women weavers and artisans through collectivization, entrepreneurship, and capacity building for several years. We spoke to them about their understanding of these concepts and their individual journeys. In this blog, the first of two parts, we share what the conversation revealed about women’s leadership, empowerment, and the need for collectivization.

The ethics of payments to research participants

Data collection is often a burdensome and time-consuming activity for research participants, particularly when it involves hours-long surveys. Researchers may wonder if they should pay participants for their time, how much they should offer, and whether it should take the form of cash or in-kind provision. They may worry that a failure to pay participants risks exploitation, but also that the promise of payment may unduly influence or even coerce people to participate, particularly when prospective participants are poor. I explore these issues in this post, focusing first on the rationale for payment before turning to concerns regarding coercion and undue inducement.

Policy equipoise and ethical implementation experiments: Evidence of effectiveness, not merely efficacy

One ethical concern that researchers and implementation partners confront with the use of experiments to evaluate policy interventions is the withholding of an intervention or policy – e.g. a cash transfer or empowerment collective – from otherwise eligible people. This concern may be alleviated in cases where there is a scarcity of resources. It is also alleviated when the relevant community of experts is in a state of equipoise regarding the merits of the intervention under study and the status quo. In this post, I discuss some of the factors to be considered when making judgments regarding equipoise.

How does scarcity inform ethical withholding of treatment?

In order to conduct an impact evaluation, researchers and implementation partners sometimes justify withholding an intervention from some eligible people to form a control group – for example to conduct a randomized controlled trial (RCT) – on the grounds that resources for an intervention are scarce. The argument is that since there are insufficient resources (e.g. money or bureaucratic capacity) to offer an intervention to all eligible people, it is fair to allocate access to the treatment by means of a lottery.

About

Evidence Matters is 3ie’s blog. It primarily features contributions from staff and board members. Guest blogs are by invitation.

3ie publishes blogs in the form received from the authors. Any errors or omissions are the sole responsibility of the authors. Views expressed are their own and do not represent the opinions of 3ie, its board of commissioners or supporters.

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