Afghanistan Research Services
A vibrant, self-reliant, and socially responsive business sector in Afghanistan requires sound, evidence-based decision-making. Afghanistan Research Services (ARS) uses a holistic approach that combines trained local staff and cutting edge technology to ensure accurate, timely and reliable data can be gathered across thirty-four provinces of Afghanistan, and analyzed quickly and comprehensively.
Our team has extensive experience in monitoring and evaluation in all research fields. We use mixed-methods of research and cutting edge technology to provide our clients with reliable, verifiable, and accurate data. Our goal is to provide our clients with first hand and trustworthy information about their projects, and generate reports that are designed to be used, not just sit on a shelf collecting dust!
Our research team is composed of first-class Afghan research staff, complemented by international experts, all of whom have in-depth understanding of, and experience with, Afghanistan’s specific challenges. Our team has extensive experience in all research schemes , including mixed-methods, qualitative and quantitative data gathering, and innovative research technology.
Our technical approach is designed to provide clients with proper oversight for their projects across Afghanistan. Our innovative methodology combines “eyes and ears on the ground” with advanced technology to provide fast and accurate data to our clients. A smart and synergistic marriage of educated local Afghan field staff, combined with smart surveys using GPS enabled phones, along with SMS and other crowd sourcing methodology enables us to provide the type of verified information that will allow clients to address gaps in programming support, avoid duplication, and mitigate risks associated with projects. Our approach focuses on getting information that is “sufficient”, “accurate”, and “verified”.
We use randomized geospatial sampling for surveys, GPS and Time Stamps to track the time and movement of our field staff, and triangulate all data for analysis. We use up to five sources of data to verify project progress. The first source of data is our field-staff observations, our second source of data comes from the beneficiary community itself through crowd-sourced technologies, our third source of data comes from satellite imagery and associated analytics, our fourth source of data is government and/or beneficiary community bodies, and finally the last source comes from implementing agencies themselves. Triangulating the data from these sources allows us to have a comprehensive picture of projects and present it to our clients.
Our field-staff consists of a network of over 1200 Afghan professionals who are local, knowledgeable, and can be activated on an as needed basis. The graphic on the next page outlines our overall approach.
Program Monitoring and Evaluation
Program monitoring and evaluation is essential for using development dollars effectively and efficiently in Afghanistan. Our services include, but are not limited to, formative evaluations, process and fidelity evaluations, participatory and democratic evaluations, client satisfaction evaluations, as well as outcome and impact evaluations. We are fully conversant with OECD DAC Evaluation Criteria and employ a variety of research approaches (quantitative, qualitative, mixed methods, and transformative) to provide our clients with a holistic understanding of how well the program is implemented as well as the program’s impact on various stakeholders. We understand that obtaining valid and reliable data requires the smart integration of technology with human eyes and ears on the ground. Our M&E solutions smartly and synergistically combine reach into all 401 districts as well as satellite imagery, SMS, smartphone technologies and geospatial sampling strategies.
Understanding the trends and climate of the local and global market is a pre-requisite for modernizing the Afghan economy. Our market research services include labor market studies, cost-benefit and policy analyses, as well as research on best practices.
Before funding new programs or new business initiatives in Afghanistan, it is important to identify the current deficiencies, gaps, and potential challenges. Our needs assessment services utilize multiple research approaches and draw upon our intimate knowledge of Afghanistan to equip our clients with specific, accurate, and nuanced information so they can make decisions based on the best data available.
Research is most effective when it connects with policy making or analysis. All of our research endeavors are conducted to demonstrate how they will impact relevant policy. We work with policy developers to identify research areas in order to ensure that policies are developed and designed with a sound understanding of realities in Afghanistan.
Technical Solutions to Research
From data gathering to data analysis and reporting, we rely on cutting edge technology to help with the ease and accuracy of data, including:
- SMS Technologies
- GPRS Technologies
- GPS Technologies
- Spatial and Satellite Imagery
- Geospatial Randomized Sampling