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Data Collection Specialist

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Terms of Reference | Data Collection Specialist (Doing Research Program,Testing Phase)

GDN is looking for an experienced consultant with a strong background in designing data collection systems and guidelines for global, multilingual research programs.


In 2014, GDN launched a major research program titled ‘Doing Research’ with the aim to strengthen comparative knowledge of research systems in developing countries. By looking at the production, diffusion and uptake of research at the national level in a closely interrelated way, and specifically at the place of social sciences within research systems, the goal of the program is to directly inform domestic and international efforts to strengthen research and its links to public and policy debate in developing countries.

A pilot phase (2014-16) saw the production of 11 country studies on national research systems, which informed the development (in 2017) of the Doing Research Assessment (DRA), an analytical framework to study systematically the strengths and weaknesses of research systems at the national level, and its links to context and policy[1]. The framework defines a research system’s performance, identifies a number of determinants of performance, and identifies a set of indicators that can inform its analysis and benchmarking.

GDN now wishes to test the DRA approach by conducting the Doing Research Assessment in a sample of countries, in close partnership with national research institutions. The success of the Testing Phase in 2018 will support further fundraising for the scale-up of the program in up to 140 countries, starting in 2019.


The consultant will work with the Doing Research team at GDN and partner research institutions at the national level to operationalize and implement the research framework during the Testing Phase.


The consultant will be expected to perform the following activities:

  • Review the Doing Research Assessment approach and the DRA Framework, based on existing documents and discussions with the Doing Research team and partners.
  • Support the further definition of the DRA Framework indicators.
  • Lead the development of a data collection protocol for multisite, and multilingual data collection effort, including standard data collection guidelines and tools for the national teams.
  • Support data collection during the Test Phase, in direct coordination with the Doing Research team at GDN, national partners, and possibly the team’s advisors
  • Advise GDN on the further development of the Doing Research Framework, based on the experience of the Test Phase.

Person Specifications

GDN seeks to engage an experienced data collection specialist, with at least 10 years of experience in primary research, including in developing countries. Fluency in English is required, and a working knowledge of French and/or Spanish is an asset. A strong academic background and previous work, including publications, on research, research systems, higher education development, research policy, research-policy interface and related areas is also an asset.

Criteria for Selection

Experience in design of primary and secondary data collection systems, both qualitative and quantitative (60%)

Experience at the global level, in developing countries (20%)

Language Skills (10%)

Academic expertise in education, education policy and related issues (10%)

Application Procedure

Applicants are requested to submit:

  • An up-to-date CV (no more than 2 pages)
  • Documentation on two relevant research projects in which the applicant was involved in a major way, and that the applicant feels prove his/her capacity to carry out the tasks defined above to a high standard
  • A cover letter, in which the applicant explains his/her interest in the Doing Research program, and identifies and briefly discusses the most significant challenge s/he sees in the proposed scope of work (500 words)
  • A list of publications in the last 5 years

Timeline and budget

A budget of 12,000 USD is available for this assignment. The timeline will run according to the Doing Research Testing Phase.


[1]The Doing Research Assessment methodology (including tentative indicators) and other documents are available at

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