Operational Policy Research
When conducting operational policy research, one can utilise both qualitative and quantitative methods to answer a number of common research questions. The focus here is often on the selection of various programs that are implemented in support of a policy action through the use of research methods. For example, an organisation or government might adopt a directional policy to reduce maternal mortality among rural women by 20% in five years. Preliminary data indicates that the best way to do this is by increasing the proportion of women who deliver in the presence of a skilled birth attendant by 30%. The question then becomes one of how to achieve this strategic policy directive.
Most often this is done by implementing a variety of complimentary programs that lead to the desired strategic outcome. However, choosing the correct programs often requires operational policy research in order to determine which programs will have the greatest reach among rural women and which will be acceptable to them and their families. Researchers could examine the feasibility, sustainability and cost effectiveness of a range of programs using accepted research and participatory methods.
Learn more about how to conduct a research evaluation in the following.