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Failing in the field: what we can learn when field research goes wrong

By: Karlan, Dean.
Contributor(s): Appel, Jacob.
Publisher: New Jersey Princeton University Press 2016Description: viii, 164 p.ISBN: 9780691161891.Subject(s): Research - Methodology | Experiment | EvaluationDDC classification: 300.72 Summary: All across the social sciences, from development economics to political science departments, researchers are going into the field to collect data and learn about the world. While much has been gained from the successes of randomized controlled trials, stories of failed projects often do not get told. In Failing in the Field, Dean Karlan and Jacob Appel delve into the common causes of failure in field research, so that researchers might avoid similar pitfalls in future work. Drawing on the experiences of top social scientists working in developing countries, this book delves into failed projects and helps guide practitioners as they embark on their research. From experimental design and implementation to analysis and partnership agreements, Karlan and Appel show that there are important lessons to be learned from failures at every stage. They describe five common categories of failures, review six case studies in detail, and conclude with some reflections on best (and worst) practices for designing and running field projects, with an emphasis on randomized controlled trials. There is much to be gained from investigating what has previously not worked, from misunderstandings by staff to errors in data collection. Cracking open the taboo subject of the stumbles that can take place in the implementation of research studies, Failing in the Field is a valuable “how-not-to” handbook for conducting fieldwork and running randomized controlled trials in development settings. http://press.princeton.edu/titles/10872.html
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Slot 229 (0 Floor, West Wing) Non-fiction 300.72 K2F2 (Browse shelf) Available 193672

Table of Contents:

Part I Leading Causes of Research Failures

1 Inappropriate Research Setting
2 Technical Design Flaws
3 Partner Organization Challenges
4 Survey and Measurement Execution Problems
5 Low Participation Rates

Part II Case Studies

6 Credit and Financial Literacy Training: No Delivery Means No Impact
7 Interest Rate Sensitivity: Ignoring the Elephant in the Room
8 Youth Savings: Real Money Drumming up Fake People
9 Poultry Loans: Trying to Fly without a Pilot
10 Child Health and Business Training with Credit: No Such Thing as a Simple Study
11 Bundling Credit and Insurance: Turns Out More Is Less

All across the social sciences, from development economics to political science departments, researchers are going into the field to collect data and learn about the world. While much has been gained from the successes of randomized controlled trials, stories of failed projects often do not get told. In Failing in the Field, Dean Karlan and Jacob Appel delve into the common causes of failure in field research, so that researchers might avoid similar pitfalls in future work.

Drawing on the experiences of top social scientists working in developing countries, this book delves into failed projects and helps guide practitioners as they embark on their research. From experimental design and implementation to analysis and partnership agreements, Karlan and Appel show that there are important lessons to be learned from failures at every stage. They describe five common categories of failures, review six case studies in detail, and conclude with some reflections on best (and worst) practices for designing and running field projects, with an emphasis on randomized controlled trials. There is much to be gained from investigating what has previously not worked, from misunderstandings by staff to errors in data collection.

Cracking open the taboo subject of the stumbles that can take place in the implementation of research studies, Failing in the Field is a valuable “how-not-to” handbook for conducting fieldwork and running randomized controlled trials in development settings.

http://press.princeton.edu/titles/10872.html

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