Financial Research Methods
Depending on your project, your research design may need to incorporate an emphasis on the entire causal pathway to impact. This assessment would use both qualitative and quantitative research methods to explore not only whether impacts occur, but how and why they occur. You may want to look specifically at how people use financial services and how such use affects the impact on clients, households, and enterprises. Your research may cover a wide variety of innovations, countries and levels of analysis.
Your project may require a mixed-methods approach, employing qualitative and quantitative methods with experimental, quasi-experimental, and non-experimental designs.
Below is a brief description of each research tool that can be used:
Deep dive methodology is a framework combining quantitative and qualitative methods and tools to elicit in-depth information from the same subject. The methodology can also be applied for a randomized control trial (RCT) sample, or a non-random sample.
Enabling Environment Framework
Helps examine external variables that affect the outcomes of micro-finance activities. Includes such influences as specific governance and cultural factors directly affecting the innovation, as well as political stability, macroeconomic policies, and governance quality.
Randomized Encouragement Trial (RET)
As an example, an entire study population is exposed to the same (or similar) innovation, but some segments are encouraged to take the innovation. Encouragement is provided only in selected areas of the study locations for a select time period. The design helps address whether an encouragement strategy increases overall participation.
An in-depth investigation of a single individual or an event to explore association and some causal links. Include primarily open-ended and some closed-ended questions to gather case history, perceptions, aspirations and some quantitative data.
Focus Group Discussions (FGDs) and Participatory Rapid Appraisals (PRAs)
A qualitative tool that helps gather information from a group via a moderator who guides the discussion or activity. FGDs and PRAs can be used to document the range of financial service options and to offer insights into the value proposition of the idea. They are also used to evaluate outcomes/effects of an innovation and in examining the enabling environment.
Key Informant Interviews
Primarily a qualitative tool, it helps gather information from people or institutions that are particularly knowledgeable about a situation. Usually involves semi-structured interviews with primarily open-ended and some closed-ended questions. They are used to evaluate outcomes of an innovation and to examine product use.
Quantitative Long Survey
Uses structured surveys with primarily closed ended questions to collect quantitative data. The tool helps measure the use and effects of financial services as in impact surveys.
Short surveys using a structured format with primarily close ended questions to collect basic information to help understand the profile of the population. Also, used to conduct short surveys with market vendors to understand the profile of their clients.