Approach

 

3. MIT CITE water test kit evaluation

Women from Ahmedabad, India talk with researchers from MIT as part of the Comprehensive Initiative on Technology Evaluation’s water test kit evaluation. Photo credit: MIT Comprehensive Initiative on Technology Evaluation

Lean Research is a framework and emerging approach to guide field research in the contexts of international development and humanitarian work. It is also a growing community of practice committed to developing, implementing, and learning from this approach. As an initiative, Lean Research emerges from the work of scholars, researchers, practitioners, donors, and students who are asking:

  • How can we conduct research in such a way that our research processes and results benefit the people and communities we are researching?
  • What changes do we need to make in the research process in order to minimize burden on research participants and maximize the value and positive impact of the research, both for participants and users of the research?
  • What does truly rigorous, respectful, relevant, and right-sized research look like in the context of communities targeted for development or humanitarian intervention?

Our Lean Research Framework elaborates on the four Lean Research principles and provides Guiding Questions to use when designing field research using the Lean Research approach. Our Working Paper discusses our motivations in developing the Lean Research approach.

Lean Research was born in August 2014, when over 50 researchers and practitioners convened at MIT’s D-Lab to discuss the need for better and more respectful research practices. To join this community of practice, please visit this page.

Lean Research is jointly organized by faculty and researchers at the D-Lab at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, The Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy, Root Capital, and the Feinstein International Center at the Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy at Tufts University. You can read more about our Steering Team here.