Research for Transforming India (RTI) is a research, survey, and data analysis unit of the Association for the Prevention of Blindness (APB). The unit undertakes data collection activities through its in-house surveyors.
RTI provides end-to-end data solutions for multi-sector projects. RTI has been developed by RTI International India to address data needs of the country. Backed-up by a strong team of monitoring and evaluation experts, economists, epidemiologists, program implementers, survey methodologists, statisticians, and mix-methods researchers from RTI International India, and survey coordinators and data collectors from Association for the Prevention of Blindness, RTI provides holistic data solutions-from designing surveys to data collection to analysis to development of knowledge dissemination products. RTI International India is the Knowledge Partner to Association for the Prevention of Blindness.
RTI International India uses Monitoring, Evaluation, Research, Learning, and Adapting (MERLA) framework to inform continuous learning and adaptation for improving program effectiveness and policy decision making. In order to enable continuous learning, adapting, and evidence-based decision making, RTI International formulated MERLA framework (Exhibit A) in 2016. Between 2016 and 2019, this framework has been tested and refined by RTI in over 20 countries worldwide 1. MERLA does not limit monitoring and evaluation (M&E) to an exercise of data collection and reporting. Rather, it integrates M&E and research to generate comprehensive results and evidence that is framed as learning. Through the creation and application of intentional and deliberate rapid feedback loops, the learning generated is used actively to inform programmatic adaptation, course correction, communications, advocacy, and policy decisions.
Design and methodology
We develop statistically rigorous study designs that are based on human-centric design. Our researchers have expertise in using innovative mixed-methods approaches to collect data and support it with field insights.
We develop bilingual survey instruments ensuring reliability and validity to capture information that is aligned to the study objectives. The instruments are pre-tested in the field before they get finalized.
RTI has a team of quantitative researchers and statisticians with expertise in survey research to develop sampling methodologies and calculate sample sizes to provide accurate and statistically significant study results.
 USAID Learning Lab’s video featuring RTI’s MERLA framework: https://usaidlearninglab.org/lab-notes/video-rti-internationals-cla-sprint
Recruitment of field staff and training
RTI has a pool of experienced data collectors with a minimum experience of two years in different sectors. Quality training of data collectors is critical to maintaining consistency in approach and protocols. RTI conducts trainings in small batches, and mock interviews of data collectors at survey locations in their regional language. Participants are trained on technical and operational protocols by trainers from RTI International India.
We use electronic data collection-computer-assisted personal interviewing-for administering surveys, using an in-house developed platform for programming of tools. The electronic data collection has features to capture GIS location, audios and videos, and timestamps; provides real-time data synchronization; and is suited for offline data collection. We adopt quality control measures including survey tracking, spot checks and shadow checks, accompaniments, and backchecks. All data is transferred through secure channels on our servers.
Our data visualization platform translates field data into indicators through easy-to-use dashboards. The dashboards help in real-time monitoring of data collection.
- End-line evaluation of child health interventions in selected public health facilities of Uttar Pradesh, India (Funded by: India Health Action Trust/RTI International India): RTI conducted a facility survey in 2019-2020 in six districts of Uttar Pradesh-Prayagraj, Bareilly, Gonda, Azamgarh, Bulandshahr, and Kushinagar-to assess the quality-of-care provided to under-five sick children. Around 1600 caregivers/respondents in 30 public health facilities (including 24 Community Health Centres and 6 District Hospitals) were surveyed. The facility survey included the following components: enrolment of an eligible child, observation of patient-provider consultation, an exit interview with caregivers, and assessment of in-patient/day-bed case management.
- Evaluation and documentation project of National Health Mission programs in 10 districts of Uttar Pradesh, India (Funded by National Health Mission Uttar Pradesh): RTI conducted facility and community surveys with 15,800 beneficiaries in 2018-2019 in ten districts of Uttar Pradesh-Deoria, Azamgarh, Pilibhit, Lakhimpur, Kanpur Nagar, Farrukhabad, Banda, Chitrakoot, Shahjahanpur, and Firozabad-to assess the quality of services provided, under 13 different schemes of the NHM program, at public health facilities and the user experience and satisfaction with these services. The schemes evaluated were: PPIUCD, FP counselling, Hausla Saajhedaari, effect of condom distribution, effectiveness of ante-natal check-up, Maternal Death Review assessment, Janani Shishu Suraksha Karyakram, NIPI, IEC, VHND, NRC Program, SNCU, and Sampoorna clinic.
Association for the Prevention of Blindness
Samresh Rai (MA, MSW). Mr. Samresh has over 13 years of rich experience of managing research projects for organizations like Johns Hopkins university, USA, National Health Mission, Uttar Pradesh, etc. His core areas of specialization are mixed-methods research, training and capacity building, community mobilization, and data quality.
Surendra Kumar (MSW). Mr. Surendra is a trained survey methodologist with 3 years of experience. He has undertaken evaluation projects of different public health, water and sanitation, education, agriculture, livelihood, and government programs. His areas of specialization are qualitative researcher, project coordination, and survey implementation.
RTI International India
Dr. Ashutosh Mishra (MBBS, MPH (UK) and MS Epidemiology (USA)). Dr. Mishra’s key interest lies in health systems strengthening; integrated maternal, neonatal, and child health strategy; operations research; and impact assessment of large-scale public health programs. He has strong program management skills including strategy designing and a significant expertise in managing a portfolio of maternal, neonatal, child health, nutrition, and family planning grants.
Animesh Rai (MBA, Health and Hospital Management). Mr. Rai has experience in project management and community mobilization, capacity building, and planning and budgeting. Mr. Rai applies his advocacy and analytical skills to develop research designs and evaluation tools and has extensive experience in undertaking DQAs.
Pramod Bhatt (MTech-Planning, MSc). Pramod has rich experience of conceptualizing and managing research assignments for government and corporate clients. His core areas of specialization include rural development and livelihood, water supply and sanitation, and public health. He has been actively involved in proposal writing, training, statistical analysis, report writing, client servicing (government, corporate) roles.
Ambrish Chandan (MBA, Health Management). He has over 12 years of work experience and significant expertise in planning, implementing, monitoring, and evaluating public health programs, especially under the National Rural Health Mission and the Reproductive, Maternal, Newborn, Child Health and Adolescent Health strategy (NRHM/RMNCH+A). He possesses analytical skills which he applies in presenting and describing data, writing survey research designs, developing evaluation tools, and conducting data quality assessments (DQAs).
Lopamudra Ray Saraswati (MPhil, Population Studies). Lopamudra has 12 years of work experience in development projects, including gender issues and woman-empowerment, maternal and child health, adolescent nutrition, climate change impact modelling, migrants’ well-being, and HIV prevention, awareness, and treatment. Her expertise includes mixed-methods research, monitoring and evaluation, and technical writing including reports, briefs, and research papers.
Prince Bhandari (MSc Economics). Prince is a trained development economist with 5 years of work experience. He has undertaken economic evaluation of different public health and government programs.
Aishwarya Panicker (MSc). Aishwarya has 7 years of experience in research methods, academic writing, project management, communications, and capacity building across sectors. She brings a sociological perspective to field insights using her strong abilities in advanced qualitative data analyses. Some of her areas of expertise are maternal, child, and adolescent health; gender programs in water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH), governance systems, and last-mile public service delivery.