Capacity

The Rcons’ core team comprises of fifteen members which oversee and control a wide network of highly qualified associates.

Research Process

The goal of a research endeavour is to establish novel facts or to develop methods for the advancement of human knowledge.

Network

RCons' established network of associates across Pakistan allows us to operate successfully in the remotest of locations.

The goal of a research endeavour is to establish novel facts or to develop methods for the advancement of human knowledge.

It requires a systematic and a thorough approach such that no stone is left unturned. The process itself could either be Exploratory; which identifies new problems, or it could be Constructive; which develops solutions of problems and yet another form could be Empirical; wherein the feasibility of solution is scrutinized using empirical evidence.

 

At Rcons we make sure that the real essence and sanctity of original research is maintained in our work and go to great lengths in order to streamline the process. Collection of data is perhaps the backbone of any research endeavour as it helps not only to quantify findings but accurately forecast and implement policies resulting from the work. Reliabilityvalidity and timeliness are keywords at Rcons and we make sure that we adhere to our principles in delivering every task that we take up. The picture belows gives a high level view of the process.


The survey process is divided into three phases. The first phase is perhaps the most important as it lays the foundation for the process, it may be termed as theInception phase of the research. The purpose of this phase is to prepare the tools and strategies for phase II. Surveys undergo a process of refinement during this phase so that no dead ends are encountered in the subsequent phases and hiring/training of teams is carried out. The different sub stages of this phase are explained below:

Clarifying Research Goal/Objective
This sub stage involves meetings between clients and Rcons personnel, the purpose is to bring the requirements of the survey to the table so that both parties develop a clear understanding of the purpose and scope of the survey. 

Translating/Adapting Questionnaires
During this sub stage tentative questionnaires are outlined under the requirements established in the first sub stage. Questionnaires are translated in to regional languages, most of the work performed during this sub stage is at Rcons.

Sharing/Discussing Questionnaires with Client
During this sub stage the questionnaires are shared with the clients for their initial feedback. The nature of queries in the questionnaires are deliberated upon to make sure that they are effectively targeting the information that is to be collected.

Developing Instruments /Finalizing the Questionnaires
During this sub stage questionnaires are refined according to the feedback obtained during the previous sub stage. The questionnaires are now almost ready to be administered.

Designing Methodology
During this sub stage a layout of the survey mode and method is erected. The purpose is to define the way surveys will be carried out in the field. Will the questionnaires be self filled by participants? Is there a need for interview? These are some of the questions which are answered during this phase.

Determining Feasibility
A feasibility plan of the survey effort is drawn up during this sub stage. This basically consists of a cost and benefit analysis of the process so that the entire effort can be critically analyzed.

Hiring Team(s)
As is clear from the name, this sub stage involves hiring of essential staff for the project. Sometimes an entire new team dedicated for the project may be drafted in.

Training the Team(s)
The teams are then trained so that they conform to strict standards of professionalism during their research and field work. The rigorous training ensures that all members of the team are committed and possess the ability to perform when required.

Conducting Pilot Test
The pilot provides a litmus test upon the questionnaires. These are test runs of the surveys to assess how the questionnaire is performing when put out to execution. There may be some questions where data may be difficult, may be unnecessary or may be time consuming to obtain. This then helps in elimination/revision of certain parts of the questionnaires. The pilot test is a way of making small mistakes early rather than making big mistakes later. It alerts the team on what works and what does not. 

Revising Instruments (if needed)
During this sub stage all instruments which were put to pilot test are revised under the observations made in the previous sub stage. This sub stage also marks the end of phase I of the research process. The products that emerge at the end of this phase are a finalized set of tools, strategies and instruments ready for phase II of the research cycle. 
The Phase II of the research process may be termed as the Implementation phase. During this phase finalized tools from phase I are put out to field for the collection of data. This phase is divided in the following sub stages.

Conducting Field Work
As is evident from the name of this sub stage, it pertains to all the steps carried out in the field for the collection of data. The activity kick starts in all the regions/districts selected for data collection. All teams are advised to reach their respective stations two days before the field work is scheduled to start. Briefing sessions are conducted by team supervisors under the guidance of the designated district coordinator.
Each day before the start of the fieldwork the plan for the execution of surveys is displayed at field stations and the following tasks are carried out:
•    Surveyors’ attendance 
•    Confirmation of Vans arrival/time 
•    Confirmation of Village / Settlements 
•    Teams formation
•    Teams distribution to Vans
•    Team to Village / settlements match
•    Village / Settlements directions
•    Distribution of Questionnaires
•    To ready all equipments

The three main actors in the field are the Surveyors, Supervisors and theField/District Coordinators.

The major responsibilities entrusted to Surveyors involve interviewing/conversing with the participant(s), filling the questionnaires, and abiding by the guidelines of the field supervisor.

A usual survey or a research team may comprise of four to eight personnel. The team is led by a Supervisor. The supervisor not only works him/herself in the field but also solves the queries of the team and the community as well. His further responsibilities involve coordination with the Field/District Coordinator in case of any uncertain situation for further instructions. 

The Field/District Coordinator is entrusted with the responsibility of running the entire field work in a smooth manner. He/she goes through the questionnaires and guides the team in case of any inconsistency occurring in the questionnaires and plays the role of a bridge between the team and the head office.    

Monitoring the Field Work
This sub stage is about policing the field work. The Supervisor and Field Coordinator are key persons for quality assurance of the survey/research in districts. To maintain further check and balance upon their work, the monitoring teams of RCons move around the districts to check the quality, credibility, and efficacy of field work.

Re-checking the Field Work
This sub stage commences upon the arrival of the surveying teams at the field stations. The Field Coordinator ensure that the work is rechecked and the problems are discussed so that they can be taken care off as they arise. The questionnaires are then rechecked by quality assurance staff and then passed on so that the data can be entered into computer systems.
This sub stage also marks the end of phase II of the research cycle. The data has now arrived from the field work and is ready to be compiled into reports.

The phase III is the final phase of the research cycle and maybe termed as theDelivery phase. The work involved here mainly revolves handling of the data that has arrived through survey and questionnaires

Data Entry
As is evident from the name, this sub stage involves coding of data into computer systems. Sometimes this stage may commence in parallel with the field work as information rolls in. Our previous experience shows that running the tasks in parallel results in better utilization of the resources.

Data Cleaning
This sub stage involves elimination of erroneous and faulty data from the questionnaires so that only valid data is fed in to computer programs. The process takes almost 6 to 10 days after the completion of survey.

Finalization of Data Set in STATA Or in other required program(s)
The data set is then compiled and submitted to the client in STATA or other software as per client requirement.