Our Work

Delivering excellence in social development consultancy and research

Our Research

Research is a core part of the work of our highly qualified in-house team of social development specialists. We believe strong and applicable research and evidence is essential for providing high quality social development assistance.

Our in-house technical team and network of consultants offer expertise in a wide range of research methods, including:

  • Semi-structured interviews
  • Focus groups
  • Case study research
  • Participatory methods
  • Surveys and data analysis

We make extensive use of participatory and inclusive approaches that truly build local capacity. For example, in the Democratic Republic of Congo, SDDirect has set up a Girl-Led Research Unit. We have trained a group of girls aged 16-24 as qualitative researchers to undertake primary research. Early findings are fascinating and we will publish further updates in the coming months. Please return to our site or sign up to our newsletter for future updates.

Our approach to research recognises the need to ensure that methods are designed around the realities of people’s lives. We specialise in using bespoke methods that produce social evidence of change. We have particular expertise in social and gender analysis and measuring social transformational outcomes such as empowerment, inclusion and accountability.

We place emphasis on selecting the right mix of research methods to respond to the specific evaluation purpose and questions. We offer qualitative and quantitative research capability and excel in using mixed methods. We have particular skills in using qualitative and participatory evidence to understand and explain quantitative data, and to ensure triangulation of theory, methods and data.

We also have substantive expertise in conducting secondary research, undertaking literature reviews - both rapid and in-depth reviews.  We regularly produce publications including evidence papers and guidance notes for DFID and other clients. We adopt a rigorous and transparent, yet flexible approach to identifying available research and evidence, critically assessing this evidence and synthesising the results.

Our work is underpinned by a strong commitment to ethical research, including respecting child protection principles, minimising risk of harm, and an inclusive approach to research.

Our Social Evidence and Research Unit ensures that all our work is underpinned by high-quality research excellence. The unit provides guidance and support to the design and delivery of research undertaken by SDDirect technical staff and network consultants. It also provides a ‘helpdesk’ function to ensure that our programmes and evaluations are informed by the latest evidence.

Research is undertaken on all SDDirect contracts and programmes. You can read more about our experience here.