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Qualitative Research Toolkit

This Toolkit is intended to serve as a guide for researchers and program implementers seeking to undertake qualitative research with end users of identification (ID) systems. It pulls from and summarizes a rich pool of qualitative research methodologies used for a range of social science research and analyses that can be applied to research people’s experiences with identification and ID systems. The Toolkit describes guidance, tips, and suggestions on how to train those who will do the fieldwork and how to manage data collected.

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In addition, the strengths and weaknesses of the multiple methods and sample research instruments available for qualitative research are discussed so as to enable researchers to tailor their approach to the country of focus and to the available resources for their study. It is the objective of this Toolkit to facilitate project task teams, governments, and others to carry out such research on identification in a variety of contexts. To the best of our knowledge, this is the first resource to comprehensively adapt qualitative methods specifically to the identification context.

Research that explores how end users—i.e., people who apply for and use IDs—interact with existing ID systems, and their view on solutions to problems faced in the process, is a vital tool for system designers and policy makers in the ID space. Ideally, end users will be consulted during the phase of project planning as well as throughout the implementation life cycle in order to ensure that the system is responsive to evolving demands. Developing a deeper understanding of end-user experiences across a variety of country contexts will contribute to global knowledge on this topic and help develop ID systems that increase access to services while enhancing transparency, personal control, and oversight.

The Toolkit provides a standard set of tools to enable qualitative studies to be carried out routinely, easily, but also rigorously, as part of the design of ID-related projects. Adopting a relatively standard approach to end-user studies on ID across various contexts has multiple benefits. It can help avoid "re-inventing the wheel" in research methods and thus reduce start-up efforts and costs; the studies that use this standard set of methods will be able to better build on and speak to one another; and, experiences following similar protocols will allow ID programs to build on insights on costs and resources.