Advice on research methods & evaluation design

Laterite provides policy-makers with technical advice on the design and implementation of research projects, in particular, evaluation strategies.

 

Our research team can advise on: research questions, research instruments, sampling strategies, weighting, the creation of counterfactuals, evaluation design, identification strategies (including RCT, CRCT, RDD, matching, instrumental variables, synthetic controls, proximity controls), alternative learning methods, econometric methods, pairing or the identification of similar groups/clusters, data cleaning and processing, and field logistics.

 

We strive to provide our clients with as many feasible options as possible and do our best to explain analytic and financial implications. Ultimately, Laterite supports organisations to design relevant, technically sound and operationally feasible research projects, grounded in the local context.

Evidence-based policy & project design

At Laterite we support our clients to design policies and projects that are based on evidence, operational feasibility and the sensitivity to the local context. The design process is guided by Laterite’s design-thinking approach, that helps our teams generate ideas, hypotheses and testable assumptions in a structured and collaborative way.

 

With short term projects we build on exisiting resources, our local knowledge, and our ability to mobilize research teams quickly, to build an evidence base and test assumptions. In the case of longer term assignments, we help clients develop and test potential solutions experimentally, using the most rigorous evaluation techniques. We strongly believe in the value of testing different potential solutions, before scaling up.

Improving the targeting of interventions & policies

One of the key questions policymakers and development professionals deal with is how to best allocate resources in order to maximise impact and outreach. This involves trade-offs and sometimes difficult decisions, in terms of which locations to target, which households, age groups, gender, etc.

 

Using existing resources and datasets, Laterite helps policy makers use evidence to make informed decisions and model different scenarios. Laterite also helps clients design indices to improve the targeting of individuals or clusters.

Estimating & understanding potential outreach

Projects or policies almost always set outreach targets, for example, “reaching out to 50,000 vulnerable adolescent girls aged 11 country-wide”, but what are the implications of that? How many different locations would the program need to operate in to achieve that target, what is the most effective strategy to identify eligible candidates, what are the most appropriate selection criteria to use?

 

Laterite helps policy-makers use evidence and existing datasets to answer these questions, fine-tune their outreach targets, estimate potential outreach under different scenarios/criteria, and better understand the logistical implications of outreach targets.

Capacity building on research & evaluation methods

Laterite provides technical training through individual coaching or group formats. The training we provide focuses on helping policy-makers and development professionals understand what to look out for when designing or reviewing research projects, be it in the design, data collection or analysis phase.

 

Our goal is not to explain statistical formulas or statistical software tools, but to provide our clients with some key ideas and concepts, that will help them ask the right questions, understand some of the trade-offs and ensure that the research they commission is of better quality.

Embedded advisory service

 

Through our embedded research advisory service – which directly targets development organizations, NGOs, social enterprises, and government agencies - we empower our clients to design and implement a rigorous research & learning agenda customized to their strategic, operational and informational needs.

As part of the embedded research advisory model we provide the following services: (i) Support at the strategic design level, helping organizations design a research strategy that directly feeds into their operations; (ii) Support at the research project design stage; (iii) Training at all stages of the research cycle; (iv) Back-stopping where organizations do not have the internal capacity to deliver on their research agenda, using the Laterite network of researchers; (v) Access to a network of sector-experts.

Laterite aims to transform the way development research is done. We believe that one of the most effective ways to achieve this is to work directly with the many organizations in the social development space that are interested in improving their research function and in particular learning from the data they collect.


Latest Analytic Techniques

Laterite combines strategic advisory methods with the latest available research and data analysis techniques. We believe that data analysis and experimental techniques can hugely contribute to the quality of strategic advice and the development of new programs and policies.


Collaborative Approach

We work with humility and in close collaboration with our clients and partners. By involving clients and partners in a structured thinking process, backed by evidence and qualitative insights, we create an environment in which the best ideas can surface.


Evidence-Based Advice

Our approach to advisory work is data intensive. We believe too many policy decisions are made based on assumptions or anecdotal insights rather than evidence. We work with clients to integrate concrete evidence into their decision-making.


Locally Tailored Solutions

As a company we believe that the fly-in-fly-out model has limitations. Being based in-country allows us to ground all our work in a deep understanding of the local context.


Advice Grounded in Reality

What appears good on paper is not always practical to execute in reality. We integrate the logistical knowledge we gain from our research to advise clients on project implementation. 


Ability to Mobilise Quickly


If the evidence base for a decision is missing or incomplete, Laterite has the capacity to quickly mobilize large data and research teams to bridge the gap.

Explore our other services:

Data Research Advisory