New approaches to cross-cultural research on education's outcomes amongst the poor: reflections on RECOUP’s methodology


The Research Consortium on Educational Outcomes and Poverty (RECOUP), one of the three DFID consortia funded in 2005 to produce policy-relevant research in international education, has as its remit to investigate the outcomes of education for the poor. In this paper, at the mid-point of the research, we reflect on the research design for one of the three themes of RECOUP’s work - human and social outcomes - in the light of the assumptions made at the time and subsequent experiences.
We identify the three main ways in which we intend to organise our analysis in order to combine the best of both quantitative and qualitative traditions, which we identify as Q-squared (where economics is the lead discipline); mixed methods (where sociology or education is the lead discipline) and nested case studies (where anthropology is the lead discipline).
The research, carried out in Ghana, India, Kenya and Pakistan, uses an innovative household survey instrument as well as a series of qualitative studies (including semi-structured interviews, focus groups, life histories) carried out in the same geographical areas and covering in greater depth sub-sets of the topics investigated by the surveys.
We review progress towards combining quantitative and qualitative research methods to produce data that will allow us to analyse educational outcomes for the poor in these four countries, to test new research instruments to measure educational outcomes, as well as to generate valid cross-country comparisons.


Paper for BAICE Annual Conference 2008, Glasgow, 19 pp.

New approaches to cross-cultural research on education’s outcomes amongst the poor: reflections on RECOUP’s methodology

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