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Failing in the FieldWhat We Can Learn When Field Research Goes Wrong$
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Dean Karlan and Jacob Appel

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9780691183138

Published to Princeton Scholarship Online: January 2019

DOI: 10.23943/princeton/9780691183138.001.0001

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Child Health and Business Training with Credit

Child Health and Business Training with Credit

No Such Thing as a Simple Study

(p.114) Chapter 10 Child Health and Business Training with Credit
Failing in the Field

Dean Karlan

Jacob Appel

Princeton University Press

This chapter examines a study conducted by a microfinance institution (MFI) where they began developing educational supplements for their client base of poor women on the topics of infant/child health and business training. With tailored materials ready, the MFI launched the program in about half of its branches, using an “integrated model” in which loan officers delivered the trainings during their weekly repayment meetings. As it turned out, only a portion of the groups assigned to receive training were actually receiving it, and often at lower intensity than was intended. The underlying failure is that both problems—missed trainings and trainings given to the wrong groups—went unchecked for so long. Moreover, front-line staff members involved in the study faced competing priorities. If loan officers had been more aware of and invested in the research or managers more vigilant, they might have caught these challenges and addressed them before it was too late.

Keywords:   microfinance institution, educational supplements, child health, business training, competing priorities, research

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