By Kimber Haddix McKay – Research, Monitoring and Evaluation Director
RESEARCH AND PROJECTS
At ISIS, we are busy with research design; data collection from interviews with local people and from project monitoring; data entry and analysis; and group meetings on site, in the Research Office and on Skype with our counterparts in Nepal, Uganda, the University of Washington, and Harvard University.
We have a vibrant group of applied anthropologists-in-training from the University of Montana’s applied anthropology program working with us including first year undergraduate student Lucy Tompkins and a number of MA and PhD students. Our post-doctoral Research Associate Catherine Sanders is working full time in the ISIS Research, Monitoring and Evaluation office in Montana. Together, we conduct on-going research, monitoring and evaluation of the ISIS projects on the ground.
COLLABORATIVE LEARNING IN THE VIRTUAL SPHERE
ISIS has evolved a communication system that connects us efficiently and cost-effectively across the globe. Here at the Research Office, we communicate daily by email and phone with our counterparts in Nepal and Uganda, the head office in Australia, and the ISIS office in Seattle. Weekly, we meet by Skype with colleagues in Humla and Kiwoko.
Findings from data analysis are integrated into project activities and planning, and integrated into reports to our generous donors. We have research team members on-site for six weeks or more each year, working in person with villagers and local teams.
We bring the information that we collect back to meetings with senior leadership and programme management, and findings, trends and new questions are extensively discussed with the groups.
At ISIS we are committed to making sure that the impact of the projects we do in Nepal and Uganda are carefully monitored and understood. Our research efforts are aimed at making sure this happens.
In addition to that goal, we are interested in contributing to the international development community’s understanding of the role of research in development. We are committed to improving our methods on the ground and our understanding of the role of theories of human behaviour in development. To this end we have recently developed and presented conference papers on improving our measurement method of socioeconomic status, and on theories of human cooperation and their impact on villagers’ willingness to do things like share a communal pit latrine.