Water and Development Researcher

Management Systems International (MSI)

Washington, DC, US

Project summary
Management Systems International (MSI), in partnership with the Palladium Group, implements the E3 Analytics and Evaluation Project for USAID’s Bureau for Economic Growth, Education and the Environment (E3). The Project carries out rigorous evaluations and provides analytic support to the E3 Bureau’s 12 technical offices, as well as other operating units of the Agency that work in E3 sectors. 

The MSI team is currently working with USAID/E3’s Office of Water to conduct research and analysis to identify gaps in the evidence around the four development results (DRs) that USAID is targeting to support the U.S. government’s Global Water Strategy.  This research will inform future Agency-funded research activities and implementation. 
Position Summary
MSI is recruiting a Research Specialist with subject matter expertise in direct result (DR) 1, Strengthen water sector governance and financing, as well as general expertise in rigorous social science methods. The Research Specialist will closely work with other MSI team members on a research activity that is currently underway with the USAID/E3 Water Office examining evidence gaps on the effectiveness of selected WASH approaches related to the four DRs. Depending on their experience, the Research Specialist may also serve as team lead for MSI research team members across the four DRs.
This work will be conducted over a period of approximately three months to start immediately and end around August 2018. This is not a full-time position. The selected individual is expected to available up to approximately half-time for the duration of the assignment. 
The Research Specialist will be responsible for the following tasks, in close collaboration with MSI and USAID team members:
  • Conduct and lead data collection, analysis and reporting for evidence gap analyses around selected key programming approaches that USAID is using to support the achievement of DR 1.
  • Identify, review, document, synthesize, and analyze the existing evidence about the effectiveness of the selected key programming approaches for DR1 to identify the evidence gaps and relevant research questions, including interviewing relevant donor and sector experts as approved in the activity work plan. This is not intended to be a full literature review; instead, the research team will collect and examine existing meta-evaluations, meta-analyses, evidence syntheses, literature reviews, and other relevant evidence to identify key gaps in the existing evidence.
  • Based on the gap analyses findings, develop key considerations and research questions around future implementation and research activities to address the identified evidence gaps. 
  • Depending on their experience, the Research Specialist may also serve as team lead for the MSI team across the four DRs.
  • In collaboration with the MSI team, the research specialists are expected to carry out the following tasks:
    • Support the finalization of the evidence gap analysis process and protocols for collecting, selecting, assessing, and extracting data from existing evidence and literature around the selected key programming approaches
    • Refine and finalize data collection instruments for key informant interviews and focus group discussions
    • Carry out research and analysis related to DR 1 based on the approved work plan approach and protocols. This may include reviewing and analyzing secondary documents, conducting key informant interviews in person or by phone, leading group discussions, and supervising data collection and other approaches to collect and analyze data
    • Lead drafting and finalization of the report presenting gap analyses and potential research questions for DR 1 and considerations for future research activities and programming, including responding to comments on drafts from MSI and the client
    • Lead presentations to USAID and external stakeholders regarding findings and recommendations related to DR 1
  • If the Research Specialist also serves as team lead:
    • Supervise other study team members in carrying out required tasks.
    • Ensure that study processes and products consistently meet the requirements and quality standards of MSI and USAID.
  • Master’s degree required.
  • 5-7 years’ experience required in conducting field/academic research related to WASH in international development settings. 
  • Demonstrated knowledge of WASH sector strategies and projects related to supporting water sector governance and financing required, with USAID-specific experience and knowledge strongly preferred.
  • Experience working with teams with a collaborative, collegial management style required.
  • Experience managing teams conducting literature reviews, analysis, evaluations, assessments, or similar research products preferred.
  • Demonstrated knowledge of impact evaluation methodologies (experimental/ randomized control trial or quasi-experimental methods) preferred.
  • Excellent oral, written, and communications skills required; writing sample will be requested.
  • Proactive, highly organized, and self-motivated to perform high-quality work following standard protocols and complete home-based assignments.
  • Highly proficient in MS Office applications.
  • Fluency in English required.