Research Manager

Abdul Latif Jameel Poverty Action Lab (J-PAL), Delhi, India

Skill Required:, Research and Analysis
Preferred Experience: 
1 to 3 Years
Closing Date for Applications: 
13th March, 2019

Job Description


Ichuli is an independent, Ugandan-owned development organization founded in 2015 and based in Kampala, Uganda. Ichuli means ‘cunning, adaptive and intelligent’ in Ateso, one of the languages in Eastern Uganda. Ichuli offers technical, comprehensive strategic development services to clients in the education, research, and monitoring and evaluation sectors. At Ichuli, we believe that the most effective way to achieve sustainable development and growth is to integrate home-grown contextual knowledge, expert technical experience and purposeful research with proven international best practices in delivering and scaling innovative, impactful, locally-driven development solutions.

Ichuli’s success stems from its investment in people to bring about social change. Our staff and consultants are individuals with the right energy, mindset, abilities, and commitment to making significant change happen, and to seeing it through. Ichuli delivers local solutions to local challenges within a recognized framework of international standard and quality. Local and institutional perspectives and realities are central to the design of our interventions and to the questions we ask in our research, as we believe that every development solution must be accessible and achievable for communities and people in country to execute – both during a project’s lifecycle and beyond.

To date, Ichuli Institute’s team members have been consulted and interviewed for inputs to national strategies, frameworks and intervention plans to improve early learning and teacher training and effectiveness by over 25 notable international organizations and major bi-laterals focusing on education initiatives globally and in Uganda, and presented at over 50 conferences on effective educational interventions and outcomes. The results of these discussions and presentations have been integrated into policy, planning, strategy and research initiatives on early learning, pupil literacy assessment and approaches to teacher effectiveness and motivation by organizations including the International Growth Centre, the World Bank, DFID, the Equity Initiative, RTI, R4D and CEI, Open Society Foundation, Open University, JPAL and IPA.

Ichuli has partnered with STIR Education as its external evaluator of their program for the next 5 years to independently measure the impact of their interventions in both Uganda and India.

Overall Objectives of the Evaluation

Ichuli is STIR’s evaluation partner and will use a mixed-methods approach to validate and deepen learning and understand longitudinal trends over approximately 5 years regarding STIR’s impact. By sharing this learning both internally and externally, STIR aims to influence the narrative around how to effectively realize genuine and sustained system change.

STIR has completed several rigorous external evaluations, including a randomized control trial (RCT) and quasi-experimental study. The latest iteration of their research, run by Ichuli, will implement a longitudinal approach that will help them to understand the impact of their intervention over a 5-year period as they deeply embed their approach in the structures of their government partners. STIR will develop behavioral measurement tools, building upon their internal monitoring tools, to understand their impact at different levels of the system, as well as conduct a repeated system diagnostic exercise to understand whether the fundamental conditions for sustained system change are strengthened over time.

Data will be collected annually at the end of each academic year and shared back both internally and externally. Internal dissemination will aim to improve program design and delivery, while external sharing will happen primarily with STIR’s government partners to strengthen their collaboration. It will also be shared with a wider range of thought leaders in order to stimulate discussion regarding system change based on rigorous evidence.

Working collaboratively with STIR’s team, Ichuli will develop and strengthen STIR’s internal monitoring tools and then deepen their learnings through the external evaluation, as much as possible utilizing; 1) existing system data; 2) behavioral insights utilizing similar, though more in-depth versions, of STIR’s internal tools from their monitoring framework; and 3) probing for deeper qualitative insights into the change process and systems strengthening reforms that STIR’s interventions create.

STIR’s overall learning question for this longitudinal study is:

How is STIR’s approach contributing to sustained improvements in intrinsic motivation among district officials, teachers, and students to thereby realize improvements in classroom practice and student learning?

Sub-questions for the study include:

  • How does STIR’s approach lead to continued improvements in intrinsic motivation among state, district and local-level education officials as we deeply embed our approach in an education system?
  • How does STIR’s approach lead to continued improvements in intrinsic motivation among teachers and does this, in turn, impact their classroom practice and professional growth?
  • How does STIR’s approach lead to improvements in student intrinsic motivation (including their engagement in learning, trust in their teacher, curiosity, and growth mindset) and learning?
  • How do the fundamental conditions for STIR’s approach to be embedded and sustained in a system strengthen over time as we deepen our partnerships with governments and how do we strengthen the alignment between the different levels of a system over time?

Call for Research Manager Applications

In an effort to achieve the evaluation objectives specified above, Ichuli Institute, in conjunction with our partner organization STIR Education, seek qualified applicants for the position of Research Manager to oversee data collection during the 5-year evaluation in Delhi.

The primary role of the Research Manager will be data collection and communication with the research team in Kampala, Uganda. Research Managers will also be expected to establish networks with local partners and education officials, schools and teachers and manage the day-to-day evaluation activities. Prospective Research Managers should have a focus on quality control during data collection, and be ready to assist in the development of data collection protocols. They may also help write project reports.

The Research Manager position offers an opportunity to gain first-hand experience in an organization undertaking cutting-edge development research as well as exciting prospects for career development. These positions are located at the local level in Delhi.

Please note that we will be engaging the Research Manager in the period from April to August 2019, but the amount of full-time work will likely be limited to a two month survey period in July and August. There will be work required outside of the survey fieldwork, but this will not be on a full-time basis.

Essential Duties and Responsibilities of the Research Manager

Survey Preparation and Enumerator Training Responsibilities

  • Supervise the external locally-based, contracted data collection firm and ensure quality in all of their assigned tasks.
  • Research Manager must be based in the state of operation and be able to provide for their own housing and equipment. Remuneration and benefits packages will be discussed based on the quality of the application.
  • Oversee all preparations for surveys, including preparation of all testing and training materials, survey tools, training, and testing plans and all logistical requirements (arrangements to be made by Ichuli based upon identified needs). Ensure all schools, teachers and head teachers are aware of survey schedules and times and mobilized and prepared for survey teams.
  • Collaborate with the Ichuli team and the external evaluators on the finalization of the survey questionnaires, including: (a) Checking survey editing and formatting, (b) Ensuring a logical order of survey questions and survey flow, and (c) Once translated, oversee the pre-testing of each survey with enumerators and respondents
  • Ensuring version control of Hindi and English survey questionnaires and other data collection instruments
  • Checking translations of survey questionnaires and other study documents from English to Hindi and back translation in order to check translation validity
  • Work with the Ichuli team and contracted data collection firm to select the enumerator teams for the study
  • Supervise the training of selected enumerators in administering the surveys and examinations
  • Supervise the selection of a group of supervisors (team leaders) to oversee the enumerators in the field, and train the supervisors in their roles and responsibilities
  • Prepare reports on these activities for each survey with key activities, learnings and recommendations identified
  • Directly collect data on STIR activities such as the training institutes, coaching meetings, and district alignment meetings.
  • Assist in the results sharing component after the survey period has concluded

Survey Fieldwork Responsibilities

  • Ensure that the data collection firm prepares for required materials for the enumerator teams on a daily basis for their fieldwork in assigned schools, including all relevant testing tools, coded survey instruments, sampling tools, school record sheets, respondent tokens of appreciation and any other materials required for distribution.
  • Collaborate with the supervisors in overseeing the enumerators, to include: (a.) Ensure each enumerator is provided with a unique identification code so that their quality of work can be tracked and manager over time; (b.) Checking of questionnaires; (c.) Spot checks of enumerator activities; (d.) Spot checking enumerator efficiency (time spent per survey, length of breaks, surveys completed per day, etc.); (e.) Work with Ichuli and the locally-contracted data collection firm to conduct regular checks on the administration of the survey questionnaires. The coordinator will re-visit a random selection of respondents to verify that the surveys were completed as reported by the survey team. Report results of the audits to Ichuli and researcher teams on a daily and weekly basis so that they receive performance feedback.
  • Overseeing the supervisors, to include: (a.) Monitoring time use and efficiency; (b.) Spot checks of supervisor activities; (c.) Cross-checking of a random sample of supervisor-checked surveys for validity
  • Draft and manage logs to track daily enumerator field activities, including materials provided to survey teams.
  • Manage logs to track the location of questionnaire cover sheets, which will contain sensitive data and must be properly secured.
  • Check regularly that respondent identification numbers are being properly assigned and that there are no duplicate identification numbers.
  • At the end of each data collection day, check questionnaires for recurring problems with missing data or incorrectly followed skip rules.
  • Follow up with the supervisor and data collection firm to ensure that all of the problem areas, and problems with individual and collective enumerator quality, have been addressed and rectified.
  • Design and complete daily logs of survey tools received, as well as team performance and progress against expectations. Ensure management of all materials going out to the field and back from the field on a daily basis.
  • Report daily to the Ichuli team and local data collection firm on survey implementation progress.
  • Collaborate with the Ichuli team and local firm to troubleshoot problems that arise during the implementation of all surveys.
  • Additional activities in support of data collection as determined by the local firm and Ichuli Research Manager and PI.
  • Prepare survey summary reports with recommendations for improvement and identification of key milestones.

Survey Data Entry Responsibilities

  • Oversee the management of all data collected from the field from each survey, including organizing, labeling and storing of completed survey tools for easy data entry.
  • Oversee and spot check all data entry following each survey with a team of data assistants that the local firm will manage. This includes contributing to the hiring process for data assistants, keeping daily logs of their outputs, managing the quality of the data entry process and ensuring the safekeeping of all records.
  • Ensure the backup and data storage on Ichuli’s secure internal server, with multiple back up points and secure files to prevent unauthorized access to sensitive information.
  • Prepare survey summary reports with recommendations for improvement and identification of key milestones.

Skills Required:

  • Commitment to, understanding of, and passion for research and generally improving the delivery of data and ensuring quality data for Ichuli.
  • Fluency in the local language and context
  • A degree, specialization or post-graduate training in monitoring and evaluation, statistical analysis, data management, or other relevant fields.
  • Proven experience in fieldwork and large scale evaluations in particular. Experience in conducting education research or data collection is highly preferred.
  • Clear and effective written and oral communication skills in English are a must.
  • Exceptional organizational skills, including reporting and record-keeping.
  • Ability to conduct project evaluation and research studies, including operational research, using both qualitative and quantitative methods.
  • Proactive and honest in reporting any problems that may have occurred in order that solutions can be determined as a team.
  • Good understanding of the education sector in India – at the national level, at the local government (district/state) level, at the community level, and with NGOs.
  • Strong training and facilitation skills to mentor people in surveys and assessments.
  • Experience working with local, national, and international technical advisers and in a diverse range of international settings.
  • Teamwork and excellent interpersonal skills.
  • Self-motivated and able to work with minimal supervision.


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