Job Opportunity for Research Associate at Poverty Action Lab in Chandigarh

Website Poverty Action Lab

About J-PAL:

The Abdul Latif Jameel Poverty Action Lab (J-PAL) was established in 2003 as a research center at the Economics Department at MIT. Since then, it has grown into a global network of researchers who use randomized evaluations to answer critical policy questions in the fight against poverty. J-PAL is propelled by a first-rate team dedicated to research, policy, training, and other vital work, supporting J-PAL’s mission to reduce poverty by ensuring that policy is informed by scientific evidence.

J-PAL South Asia, which is based at the Institute for Financial Management and Research (IFMR) in India, analyses and disseminates research results and builds partnerships with policymakers to ensure that policy is driven by evidence, and that programs proven effective are scaled up.

Job Description:

J-PAL South Asia seeks qualified applicants for the position of Research Associate (RA) for the project “Preventing Opioid Use in Punjab”, based in Chandigarh, India. The position offers an opportunity to gain first-hand data and field management experience in an organization undertaking cutting-edge development research.

The project focuses on the prevention of substance abuse and addiction among Punjabi youth. The project team is developing an intervention which entails a set of edutainment videos (media designed to educate through entertainment) that aim to change youth’s beliefs about the desirability, “coolness”, addictiveness, and the other dangers of taking drugs. Videos will be screened in secondary schools across Punjab. The impact of the intervention will be tested through a randomized evaluation.

The RA will report to the Principal Investigators (PIs) from University of California, Berkeley and work under their direct supervision. The position entails significant travel within the state of Punjab. The RA needs to be experienced and very comfortable in conducting field work (typically managing large field teams), organizing data collection and subsequent analysis, and maintaining strong relationships with the government partners.

Key responsibilities:

1. Overseeing the implementation of video screenings in schools across Punjab.

2. Planning and overseeing development of implementation materials (short films and videos) via rigorous inputs and feedback to video producers and contestants.

3. Managing teams: Recruit, train, and supervise both field-based and data operations teams consisting of project assistants, field managers, field-based surveyors, data entry operators and other field and office staff.

4. Designing survey questionnaires, conducting qualitative research, running pilot exercises, refining study design and surveying instruments.

5. Supervising data collection and data-entry, and ensuring data quality and productivity.

6. Overseeing implementation of the evaluation in accordance with the research design.

7. Maintaining relationships with partner organizations.

8. Data cleaning and management

  • Develop scripts in Stata to analyze survey data, clean data and identify trends across time for all ongoing data collection efforts
  • Review and vet project datasets and maintain an efficient data documentation system
  • Work with other members of the team to reconcile any gaps or errors in the data

9. Data analysis and synthesis

  • Liaise with members of the project team by sending them statistics as and when required
  • Generate aggregated views of the data for various stakeholders – the Principal Investigators, government and other partners
  • Assist in documenting data collection efforts, including any issues and key decisions taken for improvements

10. Maintain compliance with all J-PAL protocols and policies with specific focus on all protocols and guidelines laid down by J-PAL admin and finance, and research operations verticals.

11. Any other task as assigned by the Research Manager, AD Research or ED


1. Proficiency in English (required)

2. Prior fieldwork experience (required)

3. Demonstrable ability in Stata (required)

4. Willingness to travel within assigned state (required)

5. Proficiency in Punjabi (preferred)

6. Prior experience in government stakeholder management (desired)

7. Qualitative research skills in interviewing and/or focus group discussions (desired)

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