Information for Affiliates

PDF version

Many of the links below direct to Google Drive. These are internal resources for affiliates and J-PAL staff. Staff have access through their povertyactionlab.org email ID, and affiliates can request access using their Google account. 
To make suggestions on content to add or change on this page, please email Tom Bangura

Affiliates@J-PAL Research Resources Money Matters Project Development Human Resources
Affiliate Criteria
J-PAL's Mission
Important Policies
Organization Chart
Who Should I Contact?
Sectors and Initiatives
Affiliate Directory

Data analysis replication
Data publication
AEA registry assistance
AEA Registry

Human Subjects/IRB
Presentations Database
Questionnaire Database
Research Manuals
Data Management/Stata Code
Budgets & Grant writing
Calendar of Funding Opportunities
Matchmaking Activities Hiring through J-PAL
Recruitment Database
Request a Job Posting
Staff Training

Affiliate Criteria

J-PAL affiliates are nominated by members of J-PAL's Board. Existing affiliates can suggest new affiliates for consideration by contacting any Board member. Nominations are reviewed by J-PAL's Executive Committee using the following criteria:

  1. Affiliates are intended to primarily be academics who publish in high quality economics journals.
  2. Affiliates should be currently affiliated with a university or its equivalent (at which academic freedom to publish results is protected), either as a professor or as a principal investigator. Researchers working at "funding and implementing" organizations (e.g. the World Bank, ADB or IDB) are not invited to be affiliates because of potential conflict.

Important Policies 

For projects carried out through J-PAL or funded by its research initiatives, J-PAL has policies in place that guarantee research quality, ethical responsibility, and transparency. J-PAL staff in the regional offices are able to help affiliates implement these requirements. J-PAL Global also offers data publication and trial registration assistance.

  • J-PAL Research Protocols
    Our Research Protocols describe Minimum Must Do's and Best Practices to ensure the ethical conduct of research, data security, and data quality. Please review these protocols carefully. All projects funded or carried out by J-PAL must adhere to these guidelines.
  • IPA Research Protocols
    Our partner organization Innovations for Poverty Action has a similar set of Research Protocols in place. They give a comprehensive overview on the steps to implement a high-quality field project.
  • Trial Registry guidelines and information on how to register
    In 2012, the American Economic Association in cooperation with J-PAL implemented the AEA RCT registry. All J-PAL funded projects must be registered. Affiliates are encouraged to register all their RCTs. Note that some journals or funders also require trial registration in a public registry.
  • Data publication guidelines
    All data collected for J-PAL funded projects must be published in de-identified form as IRB protocols allow. Affiliates are encouraged to publish all their RCT data. Many funders have also begun to require publication of data that was collected as part of funded projects.

J-PAL Research Services for Affiliates

Data analysis replication "pre-publication"
Several Research Transparency Graduate Fellows are available to work with J-PAL affiliates to create analysis and data files ready for "push button replication": even before a paper is peer-reviewed or published, this service ensures that data analysis and data cleaning processes used in the research are robust, and all results can be replicated. 

Interested affiliates are assigned a Graduate Fellow who can provide any or all of the following services, depending on the affiliate's needs:

  • Replicate the analyses described in the paper
  • Ensure that all estimation details are described clearly and completely in the paper
  • Format replication analysis program files, including for tables and figures, ready for publication
  • Replicate and/or complete any data cleaning, labeling, and organization needed to prepare the data for publication
  • Prepare a full replication report.

All replication work carried out by a Graduate Fellow is strictly confidential. 

Graduate Fellows are selected in a competitive process once a semester and receive full funding from J-PAL. Applicants must be PhD students in Economics, Political Science, Publich Policy, or related disciplines.

Please submit your expression of interest by emailing James Turitto, Research Manager at J-PAL Global, at jturitto@povertyactionlab.orgJ-PAL's pre-publication replication services are part of our research transparency work and funded by a grant from the Laura and John Arnold Foundation (LJAF).

Data publication

J-PAL's research team will work with you to clean, label, and document datasets collected as part of a randomized trial before publishing them in the J-PAL dataverse or another data repository of your choice. Requests for data publication services can be submitted here. 

J-PAL's data publication services are part of our research transparency work and funded by a grant from the Laura and John Arnold Foundation (LJAF). 


AEA RCT registry assistance

J-PAL’s research team will provide affiliates assistance in registering their projects on the AEA RCT Registry, such as creating drafts based off of information in a research proposal, an application to your Institutional Review Board (IRB), narrative report, etc. For help requests, or other questions and comments, please contact Keesler Welch (Trial Registry Administrator, J-PAL) at keesler@povertyactionlab.org. Please keep in mind, the registry is only as meaningful as it is comprehensive. We appreciate your support in this effort.

Annotated Descriptions of Selected Resources in J-PAL Shared Files:

Human Subjects [back to top]

J-PAL maintains a Google Drive folder with research resources to which all our affiliates and staff have access (please click on "request access" if you cannot see the folder).

The Human Subjects section in the J-PAL shared Google Drive contains resources relating to human subjects and IRB, including information on protocols, IRB documents, and templates. This section is split into the following five categories:

Manuals

The manuals section contains guidelines and protocols for human subjects and IRB e.g. the *J-PAL Human Subjects Manual that talks about when an IRB is required and what is the process for submitting and renewing an IRB.  The staff training presentation on the *Ethics of Research and IRB also contains important information for staff on the importance of ethics and data security.

Templates

The templates section contains resources on sample consent forms, confidentiality and data use agreements. Following are a few key documents that can be found in this section:

  1. Confidentiality agreement
  2. Data Use Agreement
  3. Informed Consent and checklist
  4. Parental Consent for Children
  5. Sample Risk Verbiage

IRB Forms

The IRB Forms section contains documents for actual IRB forms for the different IRBs such as MIT, Yale, IPA, IFMR, and UCT. It also includes a few different country specific IRB documents.

Ethical Research Concerns – Other Papers

This section contains papers on the ethics of research, e.g. a paper on  Conducting Ethical Economics Research: Complications from the Field and Facebook’s Controversial Emotion Experiment.

In addition to the above resources on Google Drive, the following information might also be of use:

Links to some of the most frequently used IRBs by our affiliates:

  1. Harvard Committee on the Use of Human Subjects
  2. MIT COUHES
  3. Northwestern IRB
  4. Yale IRB

Links to Human Subjects certifications required by J-PAL and IPA for their research staff:

  • CITI (MIT Staff)
  • CITI (J-PAL, non-MIT staff)
  • NIH (IPA and others)

Research Manuals [back to top]

J-PAL maintains a Google Drive folder with research resources to which all our affiliates and staff have access (please click on "request access" if you cannot see the folder).

The Research Manuals section on Google Drive aggregates guidelines, manuals, and documentation about J-PAL protocols across the research process. This runs the gamut from big-picture project management documentation such as our Research Protocols checklist to more niche topics such as tips for batch programming.

Manuals are separated by stage of the research process and can be browsed according to the following categories:

  1. General Project Management e.g. File and Folder Management Guidelines
  2. Finance e.g. Tips for Grant Writing
  3. Research Design e.g. Introduction to Power Calculations
  4. Intervention e.g. J-PAL Costing Guidelines
  5. Human Subjects and IRB e.g. J-PAL Human Subjects Manual
  6. Measurement e.g. Guideline to Piloting Survey Instruments
  7. Data Collection e.g. IPA Back Check Manual
  8. Data Entry (with more specific guidelines for electronic data collection) e.g. Data Entry Auditing Guideline
  9. Data Management (with more specific guidelines for working in Stata in particular) e.g. Doing Reproducible Research Guidelines

Data Management/Stata Code [back to top]

J-PAL maintains a Google Drive folder with research resources to which all our affiliates and staff have access (please click on "request access" if you cannot see the folder).

The Data Management section on Google Drive contains literature, example code, and guidelines on various stages of the data management process involved in the typical research project. This section is broadly split into five categories:

Data Security

The section on Data Security contains guidelines on J-PAL-approved best practices, including protocols that we recommend RAs follow. In addition, there are guides to using Stata and VeraCrypt for data encryption, removal of personally identifying information, and data storage. Further guidance can be found in training materials on data security that are also included here.

Data Cleaning

The data cleaning section broadly covers two topics: real-time checks of incoming data while data collection is underway, and guidelines on how to approach data cleaning. The former includes code and templates for conducting back checks and high frequency checks with paper-based and electronic data collection systems. Guidelines include protocols for labeling missing data, best practices with organizing datasets, etc.

Data Analysis

The data analysis section includes literature on index construction, econometrics, and analyzing data of various forms (panel, longitudinal, etc.) For Stata code and guidelines to using and getting started in Stata for data analysis, please refer to the Software Training folder containing Stata-specific resources. This latter folder contains hands-on resources including:

IPA and J-PAL self-paced Stata training modules, which include problem sets and extensive notes. Stata 101, 102, 103, and 104 are available, depending on the user’s level of Stata proficiency.

In addition, sample randomization code for Stata is available.

Staff Training [back to top]

Jointly with J-PAL partner organizations, we conduct several annual research staff trainings. Regular trainings take place in Kenya (February), India (August), and Cambridge (September).

The objective of the training is to provide staff with the theoretical and technical foundations to design and coordinate high-quality research studies in the field. Ideally, all who attend have been working on a research project for at least 3-6 months; however it is open to individuals with tenure outside of that range.

Staff Training Content can be viewed on the J-PAL shared drive: includes sample agenda, lectures, case studies, presentations and course packet.

Course Coverage:

Theoretical topics

  1. Research ethics
  2. Research design (theory of change, measurement, etc.)
  3. Randomization theory
  4. Power calculation theory

Technical topics

  1. Questionnaire design
  2. Quality control in the field, for digital and paper surveys
  3. Field team management
  4. Data management
  5. Programming an electronic survey in SurveyCTO
  6. Stata programming, from beginner to advanced
  7. Power calculations in Optimal Design
  8. Data security

Cost of training:

The fee for Research Associates sent by J-PAL Affiliates depends on the training location, but in the past it has been about $2000 per participant. This fee covers training materials, accommodation and food for five days, and transportation from the destination airport or designated meeting locale to the training location. It does not include travel to the country where training is held, computer programs, or expenses outside of the training location and dates.

Budgets and Grant Writing [back to top]

J-PAL maintains a Google Drive folder with research resources to which all our affiliates and staff have access (please click on "request access" if you cannot see the folder).

The Budgets and Grant Writing section on Google Drive contains guidelines on how to write grants and prepare budgets. Additional resources in this section are organized into five different categories as follows:

Budgets

The Budgets section contains resources related to preparing budgets, e.g. sample budget templates used by J-PAL and IPA and a checklist of items to include in your budget.

Training and Tips

The Training and Tips section contains resources that provide tips on best practices for writing grants, managing budgets and tracking expenses on the field e.g. this presentation on Principles of Budgeting and Expense Tracking and a blog post by David McKenzie on Tips for writing Impact Evaluation Grant Proposals         

Collecting Cost Data

The Collecting Cost Data section contains a Costing Template. The goal of this template is to collect costs for all ingredients needed to implement a program or intervention, excluding the costs of evaluating the impact of that program. Collecting this cost data is important in determining the cost-effectiveness of a program.

Budget Guidelines

The Budget Guidelines section contains a manual on what kinds of costs to consider when creating a budget. It provides a list of all the different kinds of costs that are incurred in a typical project and provides guidelines on how to account for those costs in your budget.