Research and Consultancies
a. EPRN is registered as a Non-Governmental Organization (Registration No 403/RGB/NGO/LP/2018). As a think tank we do research in two types :
• Own research : EPRN undertake own research to info policy making. This is done by making research and organize annual research conferences and policy debates whereby the research finding are disseminated to influence policy making. Every year, EPRN organizes Annual Research Conference ; whereas policy dialogues/debates happen every two months on average.
• Research with partners : in this case a partner signs a Memorandum of Agreement with EPRN to undertake a joint research project.
b. EPRN also has an affiliated business firm, EPRN Consult Co Ltd (Registration Company Code No.107900371 and Serial No.440788) which undertakes commissioned research and consultancies on behalf of various clients :
c. Source of researchers/consultants and key research areas : EPRN has more than 1600 members from various fields. They work through EPRN as Associates. That is why EPRN does research consultancies in many areas including the following :
• Climate change and green economy
• Natural Resources Management
• Gender and Governance
• Agriculture, livestock, Food systems and food security
• Livelihoods and social economics
• Monetary policy, Tax, trade, etc
d. EPRN also does projects evaluations (baseline, mid-term and endline evaluations by applying the OECD/DAC evaluation criteria. EPRN Evaluation processes apply the following key criteria : Relevance, Effectiveness, Efficiency, Impact and Sustainability. Cross-cutting issues, such as poverty, gender, coherence, community value addition and environment, may also be taken into consideration depending on projects to evaluate ; and the intervention logic (e.g. Logframe) is analyzed. Additional criteria may be added such as “Participation” or “Responsibility”.
EPRN also prepares strategic plans, business plans, and offer professional capacity building services to interested clients through contracts or on behalf of partners through MoUs.
e. Quality assurance of research and consultancy work : EPRN has a research and consultancy quality committee that provides guidance and framework for research and consultancy services. The committee oversees efficient and effective delivery of assignment to clients. To ensure that quality services are delivered to clients, EPRN applies the standard operating procedures and internal controls checks on processes and outputs of the consultants.
f. EPRN research uses a Participatory Action Research approach (PAR). This approach has as its two main goals the achievement of both action and research. PAR is a very effective method as it constantly monitors the intervention and simultaneously the researcher has an active advisory role in the implementation and can suggest alternative strategies based on her/his research observations while taking the specific context in which the intervention is applied into account.
Participatory Action Research has a number of characteristics :
• Participative : all stakeholders are involved in the research.
• Mixed methods research : the main focus lies on descriptions and on understanding social complexities via qualitative methods, while a general picture of the results will be generated through quantitative research. This combination of methods strengthens the qualitative data and provides a deeper understanding of the quantitative data.
• Reflective : critical reflection on the intervention process and its outcomes are important features.
• Responsive : the researcher is able to respond to the emerging difficulties during the implementation and immediately take action.
• Emergent and cyclical – the process takes places gradually over a number of cycles so that interpretations of data can be tested, challenged and refined.
Most Data collection tools used by EPRN :
• Semi-structured interviews
• Focus Group Discussions
• Participant Observation
• Significant change stories
For the circumstances where field travel is limited (like in the case of COVID-19 situation) ; the following tools are used :
• CATI (Computer-assisted telephones interviewing)
• CAWI (Computer Aided Web Interviewing)