Author: Roxanne

A Lean Research Case Study: CASF

The Cambodian Scholarship Foundation is dedicated to educating and empowering adolescent girls in Cambodia. CASF works with local communities to identify students who show motivation, merit, and need, and provides funding, training, and mentoring to lead students through secondary school to higher education. A 2016 program evaluation of CASF employed the principles of Lean Research, and found that after fifteen years of support for girls’ education, the program has been successful at keeping adolescent girls in school and contributing to a local culture of education. Read the full case study here.

Redefining Rigor: The Lean Research Working Paper

In the spring of 2014, the Lean Research steering team articulated its motivations for developing the approach, the basic principles underpinning it, and the key questions of Lean Research in a Working Paper. This paper remains a work-in-progress, and it is freely available for feedback and use.  You can read the opening paragraphs below, and you may download the full paper for free here. References and footnotes for the excerpt below can be found in the full paper. You may cite the paper as Paula Armstrong, Rachel Gordon, Elizabeth Hoffecker, Roxanne Krystalli, Kendra Leith, Bryan Stinchfield, and Kim Wilson, “Lean Research: Defining Rigor,” Working Paper, MIT D-Lab-The Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy, March 2015. *** Here you come to ask us the same silly questions that you go sell to aid sponsors. Now when the aid comes you keep it for yourself. I don’t want to answer any question. Go take the answers for the ones we provided last year. Root Capital, a nonprofit social investment fund, encountered this objection from a Burkinabe mango farmer in 2011 and, in response, …

Introducing the Lean Research Principles

Drawing from human-centered design, participatory research and lean production, Lean Research emphasizes the following principles, which we call “the four Rs”: Rigor: Follow good research practices for your discipline or field of practice Respect: Maximize the value of the experience and outputs for research participants and stakeholders, including creating an opportunity for them to enjoy the experience, reject participation in the study and review and refute findings Relevance: Address priority issues for stakeholders, including research participants, and produce results that are understandable, accessible, and actionable Right-size: Use only the protocols, participants, and resources necessary to collect data that informs decisions The four principles of Lean Research are not new, but are often pitted against each other as trade-offs. Lean Research emphasizes conducting research in ways that exemplify and balance all four principles and challenges researchers to identify opportunities to implement them in an integrated fashion. As a broad framework and approach to social science research, Lean Research can be applied regardless of whether the methods are quantitative, qualitative, or mixed. By creating a respectful and enjoyable experience for human subjects in the …

Guiding Questions for Lean Research

Our Lean Research Framework accompanies the four Lean Research principles of rigor, relevance, respect, and right-sizing with a set of guiding questions to ask when designing and implementing field research using this approach. A glimpse into these questions is below, with the full set available for free download in the Lean Research framework. Is our research rigorous? What steps are we taking to ensure the internal validity of the research? If applicable, what steps are we taking to ensure the external validity of the research? How are we protecting the data of the people who participate in the research?  Is our research respectful? What actions are we taking to create an environment in which research subjects can enjoy and find meaning in the experience? What actions are we taking to ensure that the human subject feels truly free to reject participation in the study or to drop out of a study once it has started without fearing or experiencing negative consequences? Are we appropriately using existing information and knowledge that local host institutions may have? What …

Engage with us

The best way to engage with us and a community of researchers, practitioners, and decision-makers implementing the lean research approach is by joining our Community of Practice. Our Community of Practice exchanges information regarding upcoming events, new Lean Research tools and publications, or stories of designing and implementing field research using the Lean Research approach. If you would like to contact the Lean Research steering team, please use the form below.