Job Openings >> Quantitative / Qualitative Research Consultant
Quantitative / Qualitative Research Consultant
Title:Quantitative / Qualitative Research Consultant
Job Location:Tigray, Ethiopia

Location of work:            Tigray, Ethiopia

Time Period:                     September 2019 – May/June 2020

Deadline:                           August 26, 2019

Compensation:                Daily rate to be negotiated based on prior experience

About ICRW

The International Center for Research on Women (ICRW) is a non-profit research organization dedicated to the empowerment of women and girls and the promotion of gender equality. ICRW works with partners to conduct empirical research, build capacity, and advocate for evidence-based, practical ways to change policies and programs. ICRW has its headquarters in Washington, DC, with regional offices in New Delhi, India and Kampala, Uganda.

Project Description
This consultancy supports ICRW’s mixed method evaluation for the (re)solve project in Ethiopia, which is funded by the Gates Foundation. ICRW is working in coordination with Pathfinder, ideas42 and Camber Collective for this project. Pathfinder is the prime grantee and leading implementation of (re)solve in Ethiopia. ICRW is the evaluation partner for (re)solve.

The (re)solve project is taking place in three countries: Ethiopia, Burkina Faso and Bangladesh. Using a combination of market segmentation and behavioral design, the (re)solve consortium has developed different solutions to remove barriers to modern contraceptive uptake for key populations in each country and increase intention to use contraceptives for women and girls who are not using contraceptives and do not want to become pregnant.

Intervention Design

In Ethiopia, (re)solve is seeking to increase pregnant and post-partum women’s intention to use post-partum family planning. The (re)solve team has designed four solutions to support health providers to counsel women about post-partum family planning and to improve the accuracy of women’s perceptions of their risk of pregnancy during the post-partum period. These solutions will be delivered by health providers in primary hospitals, health centers, health posts, and through health extension worker home visits.

Evaluation Design

The primary objective of the evaluation is to compare postpartum women’s intention to use a modern contraceptive method for spacing between women living in primary health center units (PHCUs) where four (re)solve solutions are implemented (“intervention PHCUs”) and those where they are not (“control PHCUs”) by conducting an experimental, longitudinal, mixed methods evaluation. Three rounds of quantitative questionnaires will be administered to a cohort of eligible women (pregnant women within 8 weeks of their anticipated delivery date) at enrollment, 3 months later, and 6 months later. The key outcome measured in the quantitative survey will be women’s intention to use a modern contraceptive method, as opposed to no method or relying on breastfeeding/lactational amenorrhea. A subset of these women (living in intervention PHCUs only) will be selected to also complete in-depth interviews at enrollment and at the 6-month follow-up to better understand shifts in their intention to use post-partum family planning and the influence of their husband/partner on those decisions. Finally, providers implementing the (re)solve solutions in intervention PHCUs will be interviewed at the end of the implementation period to understand their experiences using the four (re)solve solutions, their perception of the impact of the solution(s) on postpartum women’s family planning choices, and their recommendation for future use or adaptation of the solutions.

Task Description

ICRW seeks a contractor to conduct the evaluation described above, under the supportive supervision of the ICRW research team and Pathfinder’s in-country staff. The contract will be for a duration of approximately ten months, which includes all phases of research, including the submission of the study protocol, tools and any modifications for local ethical review and conducting all three rounds of data collection. Each round of data collection will involve approximately 2 months of fieldwork in Tigray, with an anticipated start date at the beginning of October 2019. ICRW will hire the contractor for the entire period of performance, but reserves the right to cancel the contract at any time if the work is not done to the satisfaction of ICRW.

Below are the activities that must be performed by the contractor:

Ethical review submission (anticipated September 2019):

Submission of the research protocol and tools for local ethical review will be led by Pathfinder’s Regional (re)solve FP Coordinator. The contractor will be provided with the research protocol and tools for the project and the supervisor(s) of the research team(s) is/are expected to familiarize themselves/themselves with the research design sufficiently to support the submission by attending presentations/ethical review meetings as requested by Pathfinder’s in-country team.

Additionally, every member of the data collection team must complete an online research ethics certification course (provided by ICRW) prior to the training if they cannot provide proof of having previously completed research ethics training.

Programming of surveys (September 2019):

ICRW strongly prefers that all quantitative questionnaires be administered through tablet/digital data collection. In their application, contractors should specify whether they will use digital or paper-based tools for the quantitative questionnaire. Contractors who propose to use tablets must specify the software to be used, the capabilities and expertise of the staff that will program the devices, and the processes in place for verifying the accuracy of the programmed skip patterns prior to the start of the training and verifying the accuracy of the skip patterns and rapidly fixing any errors while training, piloting, and data collection are underway.

Training (anticipated beginning of October 2019):

Prior to the beginning of baseline, ICRW staff will join the research team in Ethiopia to conduct a training on and piloting of the research protocol and tools. All of the contractor’s research team staff must be present for the entire duration of the training and piloting.

Quantitative data collection (anticipated October 2019 – June 2020):

The sampling frame for the study is nine woredas of Tigray: Alaje, Asgede Tsimbla, Hawzen, Hintalo wejerat, Kafta Humera, Naedier-Adiet, Tahtay Adiabo, Tanqua-Abergelle, and Welkait. The primary sampling unit for the quantitative study will be the PHCU. A total of 14 PHCUs will be randomly selected out of all the PHCUs in these nine woredas; 7 will be assigned to receive the main intervention and 7 will serve as control sites.

In each of these 14 PHCUs, the contractor will conduct three rounds of data collection. In the first round, rolling enrollment for potential study participants will be open for one month. Pregnant women will be recruited into the quantitative survey cohort while visiting a primary hospital, health center, or health post. After receiving the appropriate permissions to recruit within the health facility, research team members will approach visibly pregnant women, introduce themselves, ask to speak with them in private, and ask a few preliminary screening questions to determine whether the woman they are speaking to meets the study’s eligibility requirements. All women who are eligible and interested in participating will be enrolled in the study cohort. While the number of eligible women will vary based on the population of the PHCU, we anticipate achieving a total sample size of approximately 300 women in the first round. Each enrollment interview is anticipated to take approximately one hour, not including the time spent verifying eligibility and obtaining informed consent.

In the application, the contractor must specify the team structure they will use to ensure sufficient coverage of the primary hospital or health center and all health posts in each PHCU by the enumeration team throughout the one-month recruitment period. The contractor must also specify the number of PHCUs that can be simultaneously enrolling based on the team structure and how supervision and quality assurance will be conducted. ICRW currently anticipates that the contractor will wish to stagger the enrollment, conducting enrollment in the first 7 PHCUs for one month and the second 7 PHCUs in a second month immediately following, however, the contractor may specify an alternate data collection team structure and timeline so long as it does not take more than two months to complete each round of data collection in all 14 PHCUs.

At the second and third rounds of data collection, 3 and 6 months after the first, the contractor will relocate and re-interview each member of the study cohort using contact information collected during enrollment. These women will likely be interviewed at home, or another location of their choosing where privacy can be maintained. In the application, the contractor must specify any anticipated challenges with following up women enrolled in the cohort and how these challenges will be minimized to ensure maximum retention of the study cohort.

The contractor will be responsible for supplying to ICRW raw and cleaned quantitative data sets, in Stata, no more than one month after the completion of each round of data collection. The contractor will be responsible for responding to queries from ICRW during ICRW’s data review/verification process and working with ICRW to resolve any issues that arise.

Qualitative data collection (anticipated October-November 2019 and April-May 2020):

As described above, two forms of qualitative data will also be collected as part of this study. First, a subset of women enrolled in the quantitative cohort in each intervention PHCU will also be asked to participate in two in-depth interviews, one at enrollment and one at the final round of data collection six months later. A total of 4 women will be interviewed in each main intervention PHCU, stratified by their place of enrollment (2 enrolled at a primary hospital or health center and 2 enrolled at a health post), for a total of 28 interviews at each of these two rounds (total of 56 interviews). Each interview is anticipated to take approximately one hour, not including the time spent verifying eligibility and obtaining informed consent. Women will be offered the option to complete these interviews on a different day than they complete the quantitative questionnaire, to reduce the time burden of participating in the research.

Second, four providers trained to implement the (re)solve intervention will be purposively selected to be interviewed during the final round of data collection in each intervention PHCU (total of 28 providers). Each interview is anticipated to take approximately 45 minutes, not including the time spent verifying eligibility and obtaining informed consent.

All interviews must be audio-recorded using a digital voice recorder.

The contractor will be responsible for supplying to ICRW verbatim (ie. word-for-word) interview transcripts, translated and transcribed into English, no more than one month after the completion of each round of data collection. The contractor will be responsible for responding to queries from ICRW during ICRW’s quality assurance review of the transcripts and working with ICRW to resolve any issues that arise.

Responsibilities of Consultant/Sub-contractor:

  • Verify accuracy of translations: ICRW will provide the protocol and accompanying forms, scripts and guides for all categories of participants. The Contractor should be able to contribute to the protocol and tools, including modifications based on local knowledge, as needed. Initial translation will be done independent of the Contractor, but Contractor will be responsible for reviewing translation to ensure appropriate wording and translation of the quantitative survey and associated tools, including screening materials.
  • Support submission of all relevant materials for local ethical approval.
  • Hire/identify field staff: The Contractor will develop job descriptions for all categories of field staff and receive prior approval from ICRW regarding the core qualifications required before advertising the positions.  Given the target population for this study, field staff will include exclusively female quantitative and qualitative interviewers to complete data collection within an appropriate period of time, and with the required linguistic abilities to work in the target regions. The contractor should suggest the most appropriate team structure to achieve these targets while maintaining a high standard of quality.
  • Appropriately budget for staff and expenses: The contractor will be responsible for all costs associated with the field team activities, including but not limited to salaries, recruitment and training costs, per diems, transport, materials and equipment (including tablets or printing of adequate numbers of recruitment forms, consent forms, and questionnaires), insurance and any applicable fees or taxes.  In addition to adequate time for data collection, the contractor must include time prior to the start of data collection for training of the field teams (with technical support and participation from ICRW) and piloting of the tools. 
  • Lead or co-lead the training of data collection teams, to include developing relevant training materials, facilitating the training sessions (rental of facilities, etc.), and piloting the tools.
  • Lead data collection with appropriate quality assurance mechanisms:  ICRW’s primary involvement will be to oversee training of data collectors and to provide strategic input in the early stages of data collection. The Contractor will be responsible for all other activities related to quality data collection. Specifically, the Contractor will supervise fieldwork, data collection, and data management and assume responsibility for quality control.  The Contractor will provide regular feedback to ICRW during the data collection process, including:
    • Frequent (daily or every other day, as agreed upon prior) email or Skype updates reporting the number of IDIs, KIIs, and surveys completed during data collection in the field.
    • Notifying ICRW of any problems occurring during data collection including problems with tablets/digital data collection, re-locating respondents, high numbers of refusal to respond, as well as any difficulties asking certain questions.
    • A weekly written update.
  • Adhere to all ethical protections outlined in the study protocol, including following specified procedures for recruitment and consenting of study participants, proper storage of data (especially identifiable data), and all other ethical procedures specified.
  • Clean and correct quantitative data, including developing with ICRW key data checks, identification and documentation of errors, missing data, and inconsistences, and the correction of these issues where possible.
  • Record and transcribe verbatim all qualitative data collection events and translate into English.
  • Perform administrative tasks in English – particularly contracting and financial reporting. If no staff are able to conduct these tasks in English, then translation costs should be included in the budget. 

Anticipated deliverables (due within 30 days of the completion of each round of data collection):

  • Field report in English describing the research activities conducted, timeline, basic characteristics of the sample/data collected, challenges experienced and how addressed;
  • Raw and clean quantitative data sets in Stata; and
  • Verbatim (ie. word-for-word) transcripts in English of all IDIs and KIIs, as applicable.

Interested organizations are asked to submit a proposal that includes:

  • A technical narrative no longer than four pages describing how they will accomplish the tasks described above, in English;
  • A detailed budget with budget notes;
  • CVs of key personnel who will be engaged in the data collection. Data collection firms/organizations must also submit an institutional capacity statement;
  • Brief paragraph summaries of 3-4 examples of similar data collection work conducted within the past two years. The summaries should include descriptions of the past efforts, covering the scale of data collection, the methods used, experience with digital data collection tools, field strategy (including interviewer/researcher recruitment, team structure, quality control systems, etc.), data management approach, quality control systems, etc.; and
  • 2-3 references that can be contacted regarding the quality of the organization’s work.

Required Skills:

  • Master’s degree in a related field (sociology, gender, international development or other social science) required for the local PI, PhD preferred.
  • Significant experience (at least 5 years) with both quantitative and qualitative research implementation, analysis and reporting.
  • Significant experience conducting large-scale, mixed-methods surveys.
  • Demonstrated experience conducting research on sensitive topic areas related to health, such as sexual health and reproductive health.
  • Fluency in English and Tigrinya.
Interested candidates should submit a resume, daily rate requirements, and contact information for at least two references. 
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