Study Design

We create statistically rigorous study designs that can be used to calculate the effect size, test for significance, detect prevalence levels, prove causality, and confirm the correlation. At the same time, we understand the limits of adopting only quantitative or qualitative data methods. We are big believers of a mixed-methods approach to gain an in-depth understanding of project context, track changes in knowledge, attitudes, and practices, and understand the program's strengths, simultaneously. 

We ensure our designs can suit partner expectations in terms of timelines, budget constraints, and strategy without compromising on power and quality.

Our approach puts the respondent at the center of research. We are adept at using different research tools to understand ground-level needs and inform a new or an ongoing program. Among others, these include

  • Psychometric tools

    • Including color cards 

  • Activity-based games 

    • To triangulate responses

  • Human-centered design approach & content testing

    • Showcards, images

  • Game theory to assess risk-taking 

  • Behavioral change campaigns 

    • Limericks, text, audio/visual content with better recall, word-association 

The Result: Study Designs are Efficient and Comprehensive

Outline India - What We Do

Data Collection

We believe good data is at the epicenter of good research and hence leads to better social programs.

Our processes include

  • Extensive literature reviewing and studying of other surveys and datasets

  • Iterating on surveys with partner

    • translations that are contextual and not literal 

  • Piloting surveys and cognitive testing

  • Coding on data collection platform and our own Track Your Metrics

  • Preparation of field training material 

    • Discussion around study objectives, sampling and how it will impact the community; therefore how their role is crucial 

    • Question by question guides

    • Visual guides (where applicable) - what is acceptable as a clean toilet for instance

    • Ethics, consent, emergency handling

    • Field hierarchies- team subgroups and reporting structures

Our researchers are integral to field training and are part of all field missions. The point of contact (researcher) is always part of the field mission for direct communication, conflict resolution, and ensuring better communication.  

The Result: Robust and relevant data

Outline India - What We Do

Means for Data Collection - Digital, Telephonic and Online

Collecting large volumes of data from challenging locations can be an expensive and cumbersome process. Hence, we tailor our solutions, based on what is executable. 


Our team is adept at

  • Coding extensive tools on third-party software including in local language 

    • Our preference is for our internal product Track Your Metrics since it does away with coding needs and we have complete control over the server details and in the purging of data and identifiers

  • We ensure there are audio audit features embedded together with specifying the minimum time needed to complete certain sections 


Telephonic interviews are best suited for conversations where observing body language is not important. Also, such surveys must be kept short and should allow for quick movement between sections, based on the respondent's ease.

The Covid19 pandemic led us back to some of these methods. 

  • We use software that allows us to audio audit and track which calls were taken, missed, dropped, etc 


For urban, peri-urban populations, quick responses via online surveys can be obtained. For rural populations, surveys may be shared via Track Your Metrics app or directly through a Whatsapp link. However, stakeholders may not have good internet access and it has the inherent bias of excluding women, children, and men from lower socio-economic categories. 

  • Works best to gather quick opinion from large populations

Result: Reliable and representative data

Outline India - What We Do

Impact Assessment

Impact is defined differently by each partner. 

Some target reach and quantifiable metrics on the scale and yet other programs are more drilled down, towards determining scalability, applicability, and wired around experimentation toward better social outcomes.

  • We have worked on multi-country programs in the past 

  • We have been the India lead for variants of the same program running in different countries or have worked alongside our partners to adapt with them 

  • Working on studies through their lifecycle, base, mid and end-line assessments 

We have worked on 

  • Needs and formative assessments

  • RCTs, LQAS, quasi-experimental studies

  • Due diligence when baseline datasets were absent

  • Dipsticks for actionable insights

  • Ethnographies  

  • Qualitative assessments 

  • Video documentation

  • Process documentation 

  • Summative evaluations 

Result: Figuring stakeholder needs from their point of view and within the ambit of their existing structures

Outline India - What We Do

Monitoring, Evaluation and Learning

It can be hard to assess the impact of an intervention, to understand its utility, track, or monitor it. 

Our evaluations don’t just measure, they seek to improve.

As specialists in monitoring, evaluation, and learning (MEL), we are skilled at -

  • Identifying indicators that enhance accountability and efficacy and enable course correction. Our monitoring and evaluation frameworks are designed with your target beneficiaries in mind. 

  • We work closely with you to understand what ‘success’ means to you and HELP define success matrices log frames and in building out your theory of change 

The Result: Enabling course correction, bottleneck identification and fixing

Outline India - What We Do

Proof that your work is making an Impact

To certain partners, this could be defined as increased uptake of government farm subsidies, a fall in birth rates, reduction in the incidence of TB, or better access to markets to sell local artwork or cotton.

However, to many others, this could mean

  • More time spent with children for families

  • Greater say in financial matters for women

  • Preference for environmentally safer agricultural practices 

We observe, study, track, measure, quantify, and qualify your work from a third-party point of view bearing in mind your macro and micro-level goals. 

The Result: A few steps towards changing the world for the better

Outline India - What We Do

Our Impact

As a social enterprise, we are committed to making an impact. Here's how:

Data towards actionable social impact

There can be a big difference between what works in theory and what works on the ground. 

Based on our developmental sector experience in India and other Southeast Asian countries, we understand the ground-level realities and can guide you to figure out the externalities of your research design - positive and negative.

Our goal is to help our partners

  • Devise solutions, pilot them, tweak or change them entirely, before the social intervention is set up or scaled

  • Set up measures in place for periodic check-ins, 

  • Deriving and promoting a rubric for Data Quality. Documenting learning from the field through our “Cautionary Tales.” (weblink)

  • Empowering our partners to put measures in place for quality control measures 

The development sector prides itself on evidence-driven decision making, but the idea for what makes for robust evidence is questionable and evolving. 

We are champions of good data collection in India, working to educate and build demand for stronger evidence in the sector.

Improve Interventions - from failures and successes

Our clients work hard. Our goal is to ensure that hard work counts.

OI provides strong, reliable and accurate data coupled with an astute analysis that captures our clients' impact and sheds light on the context of their work.

We believe it is essential to share successes and failures towards improved outcomes. 

See some of our publications here 

Field Capacity Building

The countless hours invested by our field workers in remote, sometimes hostile areas to gather the best possible data, are foundational to our research. We believe in building their skills further and giving them opportunities. Get to know some of our hardworking field team here

Here’s what we are doing:

  • Building strong and diverse teams of field workers with contextual, regional, linguistic as well as research familiarity by teaching them the basics of research.

  • Giving research opportunities to locals who are well embedded within the community and hence bring know-how and significant value in terms of ideas and networks 

  • Systemizing the inclusion of enumerator perceptions in the research findings.


Our field training include

  • Classroom sessions 1-7 days long or longer depending on the exercise at hand

  • Mock sessions - in the classroom and on the field

  • Discussion around technology and field plans  

  • Formation of buddy groups to complement skills and improve outcomes

Democratizing Data

Ethical and responsible research obligates us to constantly work on upgradation of our data collection process and to consider new and experimental forms of research.  

We work to empower respondents by making data collection meaningful for them.

  • Asking the right questions by creating surveys and tools that are informed by the respondent’s context through comprehensive pre-tests.

  • Advocating for the dissemination of research to respondents.

  • Avoiding the replication of data collection efforts and advocating for responsible data collection 

Our NEW tech platform and application - Track Your Metrics, seeks to automate social assessments, by empowering small, grassroots, NGOs to access ready to use survey tools and big organisations to track multiple programs for low cost (weblink) - TYM.

Researcher Capacity Building

Researchers who are on calls or in meetings with you will go on the field mission!

Our senior research staff is part of nearly all field training assignments.

We take pride in our on-ground reach. Our love for conversations ensures that our insights are grounded and real. 

  • We are happy to include our partners in-field training and invite them on during the field exercise

  • We work closely post data collection, to ensure the final report is representative of macro and micro-level findings. 

  • We are part of numerous forums on data quality and ensure our staff attends and assimilates new and evolving practices 

We participate as discussants, and in writing, to contribute towards the larger body of M&E and impact assessment work 

Maintaining a culture of Reflexivity, Transparency, and Introspection by conducting regular Impact Meetings

Our Work

Social Marketing Experiment to Conduct a Market As...


The World Bank





Outline India supported the World Bank to conduct a social-marketing study in order to understand the demand-side constraints and opportunities for a specific nutrition-focused product, named Wheatamix, and services rela... Read More

Scoping Study To Build A Business Case For LINK Fu...


The LINK Fund




Livelihood, Gender

LINK-US negotiated an MOU with the Government of Odisha. The MOU aimed at forming forward linkages of SHGs to public procurement systems or large businesses and/or access to enterprise networks. At the request of the S... Read More

A qualitative study to understand the efficacy of...


Happy Creative Services Pvt. Ltd





Outline India conducted a qualitative study to understand the efficacy of the kit in spreading messages about safe sanitation and hand-washing habits and suggest improvements that could be made to the kit by administerin... Read More

To Study the Impact of RTE EWS Quota in Private Sc...


University of Maryland





Outline India collaborated with a researcher from the University of Maryland to study the impact of RTE EWS quota in private schools on maternal aspirations and perceived returns to education. A quantitative survey was c... Read More


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