Operational Research


Operational Research (OR) is often used by organizations to investigate how to structure an approach for project implementation, improve processes and strategies of ongoing programs so these can reach expected goals or look into results of individual components of ongoing programs. We take a ‘business style’ approach to Operational Research that is resource-considerate and time-sensitive. We recognise the importance of local context and cultures, meaning our research approach is flexible, adaptive, and carried out in the appropriate language.

What we do

The Impact Team expertise in Operational Research is applying qualitative participatory M&E techniques, such as Most Significant Change, PhotoVoice and other participatory techniques, to address critical questions impacting current or future development programming. We specialize in carrying out Operational Research for programming related to poverty reduction, strengthening health systems and SRHR, social inclusion, and gender.  Our past OR assignments in Indonesia and Europe include:

Operational Research for Humanity and Inclusion (HI)

Over a three year period (2019-2021), the Impact Team is conducting Operational Research for Humanity and Inclusion (HI), in cooperation with the Human Development Research Center (HDRC) in Bangladesh. The OR is focused on generating knowledge through evaluating the effectiveness and impact of HI Bangladesh’s “Disability Inclusive Poverty Graduation Model (DIPGM)”. 

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DIPGM, now in its third phase, is being implemented under the DFID-funded project, “Poverty Alleviation through Resilience and Disability Inclusive Graduation Model.” This OR employs a mixed method approach, with data gathered using quantitative and qualitative techniques. HRDC is responsible for collection and analysis of quantitative data from treatment and control households, taking a Randomized Control Trial approach.

ResultsinHealth is responsible for the qualitative research. The Impact Team generates data through: Key Informant Interviews (KII); In-depth Interviews (IDI); Focus Group Discussions (FGD), and; the Most Significant Change (MSC) methods. Our research explores the impact pathways of the intervention and is designed to enrich the quantitative findings from the HRDC’s Randomized Control Trial. Findings will be published in a scientific journal.

Operational Research on Program Keluarga Harapan (PKH)

RiH was contracted in 2014 by the Government of Indonesia to conduct Operational Research on its Program Keluarga Harapan (PKH), the country’s largest conditional cash transfer (CCT) program to increase basic school participation for children and improve the health status of mothers and children under 7 years of age. The Impact Team carried longitudinal qualitative research using Most Significant Change methodology. The key question being investigated was how social assistance programmes, such as PKH, can be used to allow the poorest to escape situations of extreme poverty.

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Stories of change, including improvements related to PKH’s CCT school attendance and health-related conditionalities, were collected and analysed.  The MSC technique was effective for bringing to light, in a retrospective manner, key changes attributable to PKH. During our process, we stimulated participation and dialogue between different stakeholders, included women as main beneficieries and others, through discussions of stories of change. Key findings of the research focused on the PKH programme’s effectiveness in reaching its intended goal, reducing poverty while building human capital.

Operational Research on the Access, Services and Knowledge (ASK) programme

In 2015, RiH conducted Operational Research (OR) on the opportunities and barriers for increasing the uptake of Sexual and Reproductive Health (SRH) services among underserved adolescent boys and girls in Indonesia. The Access, Services and Knowledge (ASK) programme – a three-year programme funded by the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs – was launched in 2013 with the aim to improve SRH service uptake by people aged 10-24, which was proving challenging.

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To improve outcomes, RiH’s used various qualitative research methods to identify the pathways taken by young people to access SRH services in urban, suburban and rural areas in DI Yogyakarta, Indonesia.

The results of the OR, which included concrete recommendations on investments needs for increasing uptake of SRH services by young Indonesians, were presented at the International Conference of Family Planning in Bali, Indonesia, January 2016. In conducting this assignment, ResultsinHealth collaborated with Indonesian partner organisations, independent local consultants, and a local consultancy network.

Systematic review for the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC)

In 2010-2011, in a project funded by the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC), ResultsinHealth and the Dutch National Institute for Public Health and the Environment (Dutch RIVM) conducted a systematic review of the situation of HIV/STI among the Men who have Sex with Men (MSM) population in Europe.

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RiH conducted an inventory of HIV/STI prevention interventions targeted at MSM in Europe and North America and analysed available evidence and highlighted trends. Results of this project were published as in an ECDC technical report and presented at national, regional and international conferences.

Meet our research partners

Ms. Ciptasari Prabawanti

Project Director for The Military Specific HIV/AIDS Prevention, Care and Treatment Program in Indonesia. Director of Siklus, a non-profit organization working in the area of public health. 

Ms. Ciptasari Prabawanti is an NGO professional with 25 years’ experience managing and implementing programs, research and capacity building.

She has collaborated with ResultsinHealth in several projects such as Strengthening Community Systems to reduce vulnerability to and the impact of HIV infection on men who have sex with men and transgender people (funded by Isean Hivos), and operational research on Access to Sexual and Reproductive Health Services for Underserved Youth (funded by Rutgers Indonesia).

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The major expertise of is Ms. Ciptasari Prabawanti in the field of HIV/AIDS, reproductive health and family planning. She also has strong skills in behavior change interventions/communication and the prevention of sexual transmission aspects among key affected populations including female sex workers, transgender people, men having sex with men and sex worker clients. Her work locations include Indonesia, Philippines, and Timor Leste. She has also provided technical leadership and assistance for capacity building and managing collaboration in close partnership with both government and strategic partners, including local Indonesian NGOs, to reach key affected populations. She also has extensive experience in research, program evaluation, training and facilitation. Ms. Ciptasari holds a PhD degree from the University of Groningen, the Netherlands.

Ms. Ciptasari is also director of Siklus, a non-profit organization working in the area of public health. Link to the Siklus website: https://siklus-indonesia.org/

Ms. Fiona MacLeod Budge

Independent Researcher and Consultant

Fiona is a participant oriented training facilitator and evaluator with wide experience in international and multicultural health systems. She is strong commited to the development of effective communication skills as a means to improve the quality of life for marginalised groups.
She is also concerned with improving access to health service and delivery for underrepresented groups, passionate about the promotion of community participation to achieve a more inclusive way of life for all and interested in the identification and promotion of change agents.

Judith Zaïre  van Arkel
Ms. Judith Zaïre van Arkel

Independent Researcher, Evaluator and Programme Manager

Zaïre is an experienced researcher, evaluator and programme manager. She is driven by a deep curiosity in human diversity and a strong sense of justice and has been involved in SRHR advocacy from a young age.

Zaïre has worked as a programme manager in a large primary health care programme in Suriname and as regional programme manager for Asia at Rutgers. As an independent consultant, she implemented a large variety of research projects, including studies for PAHO/WHO Suriname on gender based violence and Universal Health Coverage and an assessment of the status of Indigenous women’s rights in Suriname for UNIFEM Caribbean.

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Zaïre conducted end-term evaluations for the inter-American Development Bank and is presently involved in the end-term evaluation of the Partnership to Inspire, Transform and Connect the HIV response (PITCH). Zaïre is currently also implementing two operational research projects on inclusive SRHR advocacy for the Right Here Right Now (RHRN) Strategic Partnership.
Zaïre is particularly interested in developing an using participatory approaches in her research work. She has much experience in working with young people, LGBT communities and Indigenous communities.

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