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Increasing Women’s Representation in School Leadership: A promising path towards improving learning
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Increasing Women’s Representation in School Leadership: A promising path towards improving learning

Emerging evidence shows a positive association between women school leaders and student performance. Some studies suggest women school leaders are more likely than their male counterparts to adopt effective management practices that may contribute to improved outcomes. However, women remain largely underrepresented in school leadership positions, particularly in low- and middle-income countries. This brief presents emerging insights on the association between women school leaders and education outcomes and draws attention to women’s underrepresentation in school leadership roles. It highlights the need for further research on gender and school leadership to identify policies and practices that can be implemented to increase women’s representation and scale high-quality management practices adopted by women leaders to more schools to improve education outcomes for all children.
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Annual Report 2021
Publication

Annual Report 2021

The UNICEF Innocenti Annual Report 2021 highlights the key results achieved in research and evidence to inform policymaking and programming.
1 - 12 of 21
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Impact Evaluation in Settings of Fragility and Humanitarian Emergency
Impact Evaluation in Settings of Fragility and Humanitarian Emergency

AUTHOR(S)
Shivit Bakrania; Nikola Balvin; Silvio Daidone; Jacobus de Hoop

Published: 2021 Innocenti Discussion Papers

Despite the challenges involved in fragile and humanitarian settings, effective interventions demand rigorous impact evaluation and research. Such work in these settings is increasing, both in quality and quantity, and being used for programme implementation and decision-making.

This paper seeks to contribute to and catalyse efforts to implement rigorous impact evaluations and other rigorous empirical research in fragile and humanitarian settings. It describes what sets apart this type of research; identifies common challenges, opportunities, best practices, innovations and priorities; and shares some lessons that can improve practice, research implementation and uptake. Finally, it provides some reflections and recommendations on areas of agreement (and disagreement) between researchers and their commissioners and funding counterparts.

Malawi’s Social Cash Transfer Programme: A comprehensive summary of impacts
Malawi’s Social Cash Transfer Programme: A comprehensive summary of impacts
Published: 2018 Innocenti Research Briefs

This brief provides a comprehensive summary of the main impacts and related policy implications generated by Malawi’s Social Cash Transfer Programme between 2013 and 2015, including positive impacts on poverty, income multipliers, food security, productivity, education and health

An Evidence Gap Map on Adolescent Well-being in Low- and Middle-income Countries: A focus on the domains of protection, participation, and financial and material well-being. Study Protocol.
An Evidence Gap Map on Adolescent Well-being in Low- and Middle-income Countries: A focus on the domains of protection, participation, and financial and material well-being. Study Protocol.

AUTHOR(S)
Shivit Bakrania; Anita Ghimire

Published: 2018 Miscellanea
The objective of this evidence gap map (EGM) is to provide an overview of the existing evidence on the effectiveness of interventions (at the macro, meso and micro levels) aimed at improving adolescent well-being in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs). Its focus is on the outcome domains of protection, participation and financial and material well-being. Outcomes relating to the enabling environment for adolescents are also included to capture the contextual influences that might affect the well-being of adolescents.
 
This study protocol outlines the criteria used to consider studies for inclusion in the EGM. Only studies that are explicitly impact evaluations or systematic reviews were included and the target study population were adolescents aged 10 to 19 years. The geographic scope were LMICs as defined by the World Bank and all relevant studies written in English, French and Spanish, and published from the year 2000 onwards were included. The research team employed long-form or short-form search strategies, with search terms formulated around the proposed population, intervention, outcome, geographical focus and research design categories. The interactive EGM is available online at www.unicef-irc.org/evidence-gap-map. The EGM report is available at https://www.unicef-irc.org/publications/931/
Bridging the Gap to Understand Effective Interventions for Adolescent Well-being: An evidence gap map on protection, participation, and financial and material well-being in low- and middle-income countries
Bridging the Gap to Understand Effective Interventions for Adolescent Well-being: An evidence gap map on protection, participation, and financial and material well-being in low- and middle-income countries

AUTHOR(S)
Shivit Bakrania; Anita Ghimire; Nikola Balvin

Published: 2018 Miscellanea

This evidence gap map (EGM) collates the evidence base for adolescent interventions in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs), with a focus on the outcome domains of protection, participation and financial and material well-being. Outcomes relating to the enabling environment for adolescents are also included to capture the contextual influences that might affect the well-being of adolescents. The EGM contains 74 studies (71 impact evaluations and 3 systematic reviews) of evaluated interventions targeting adolescents in LMICs. Most of the evidence is on financial support to individuals and households, where interventions predominantly include conditional cash transfers, and studies frequently evaluate their impacts on child labour and child marriage outcomes. The second largest evidence cluster relates to the impacts of socio-emotional learning and life skills on adolescent protection, particularly protection-related attitudes, skills and knowledge, while psychosocial support is the third most frequently appearing intervention. At the group and community level, the largest bodies of evidence are on financial literacy and savings schemes, and norm change interventions.

The largest evidence gaps are at the policy and institutional level, the enabling environment for adolescent well-being, and the use of and access to information and communication technology (ICT) by adolescents. While coverage of gender is prominent in the literature, only one intervention specifically targets boys and men to promote attitudes towards gender equity. Recommendations for future primary research and synthesis are made. The interactive EGM is available online at www.unicef-irc.org/evidence-gap-map.

Best of UNICEF Research 2016
Best of UNICEF Research 2016
Published: 2016 Miscellanea

The Best of UNICEF competition identifies a number of studies that are assessed to be of particular merit on a number of criteria: in terms of the relevance and interest of the topic and findings; the rigour of their methodology; and the potential for impact, including lessons that could inform programmes elsewhere, or the capacity for replication or scaling up. Issues covered include health, education, WASH, child protection and social inclusion. There was also a strong emphasis on qualitative and mixed methods research, demonstrating the value of rigorous qualitative studies. A number of studies selected as of special merit in 2016 involved research directly with children and there is an increasing recognition that children’s perspectives are of primary importance. There was also a welcome attention to gender in some of the studies, including research with both adolescent boys and girls.

Overview of Impact Evaluation: Methodological Briefs - Impact Evaluation No. 1
Overview of Impact Evaluation: Methodological Briefs - Impact Evaluation No. 1

AUTHOR(S)
Patricia Rogers

Published: 2014 Methodological Briefs
Impact evaluation provides information about the impacts produced by an intervention. It can be undertaken of a programme or a policy, or upstream work – such as capacity building, policy advocacy and support for an enabling environment. This goes beyond looking only at goals and objectives to also examine unintended impacts. This brief provides an overview of the different elements of impact evaluation and options for planning and managing its various stages.
Evaluative Criteria: Methodological Briefs - Impact Evaluation No. 3
Evaluative Criteria: Methodological Briefs - Impact Evaluation No. 3

AUTHOR(S)
Greet Peersman

Published: 2014 Methodological Briefs
Evaluation relies on a combination of facts and values to judge the merit of an intervention. Evaluative criteria specify the values that will be used in an evaluation. While evaluative criteria can be used in different types of evaluations, this brief specifically addresses their use in impact evaluations.
Evaluative Reasoning: Methodological Briefs - Impact Evaluation No. 4
Evaluative Reasoning: Methodological Briefs - Impact Evaluation No. 4

AUTHOR(S)
E. Jane Davidson

Published: 2014 Methodological Briefs
Decision makers frequently need evaluation to help them work out what to do to build on strengths and address weaknesses. To do so, they must know not only what the strengths and weaknesses are, but also which are the most important or serious, and how well or poorly the programme or policy is performing on them. Evaluative reasoning is the process of synthesizing the answers to lower- and mid-level evaluation questions into defensible judgements that directly answer the key evaluation questions.
Participatory Approaches: Methodological Briefs - Impact Evaluation No. 5
Participatory Approaches: Methodological Briefs - Impact Evaluation No. 5

AUTHOR(S)
Irene Guijt

Published: 2014 Methodological Briefs
Using participatory approaches in impact evaluation means involving stakeholders, particularly the participants in a programme or those affected by a given policy, in specific aspects of the evaluation process. The term covers a wide range of different types of participation and stakeholders can be involved at any stage of the impact evaluation process, including: its design, data collection, analysis, reporting and managing the study.
Overview: Data Collection and Analysis Methods in Impact Evaluation: Methodological Briefs - Impact Evaluation No. 10
Overview: Data Collection and Analysis Methods in Impact Evaluation: Methodological Briefs - Impact Evaluation No. 10

AUTHOR(S)
Greet Peersman

Published: 2014 Methodological Briefs
Impact evaluations need to go beyond assessing the size of the effects (i.e., the average impact) to identify for whom and in what ways a programme or policy has been successful. What constitutes ‘success’ and how the data will be analysed and synthesized to answer the specific key evaluation questions (KEQs) must be considered up front as data collection should be geared towards the mix of evidence needed to make appropriate judgements about the programme or policy. This brief provides an overview of the issues involved in choosing and using data collection and analysis methods for impact evaluations.
Interviewing: Methodological Briefs - Impact Evaluation No. 12
Interviewing: Methodological Briefs - Impact Evaluation No. 12

AUTHOR(S)
Bronwen McDonald; Patricia Rogers

Published: 2014 Methodological Briefs
Interviews are easy to do badly and hard to do well - good planning, adequate time and appropriate skills are required. The type of interview should be carefully chosen to suit the situation rather than choosing a type of interview (such as focus groups) simply because it is commonly used. Interviews with children raise particular ethical issues that need to be carefully considered and fully addressed. This brief outlines key issues to consider in planning interviews for impact evaluation, taking into account the purpose of the evaluation, how interview data aim to complement other data for assessing impact, and the availability of resources.
Modelling: Methodological Briefs - Impact Evaluation No. 13
Modelling: Methodological Briefs - Impact Evaluation No. 13

AUTHOR(S)
Howard White; Shagun Sabarwal

Published: 2014 Methodological Briefs
Modelling is an approach to impact evaluation which uses mathematical models to describe social and economic relationships and to infer causality from an intervention to an outcome, and/or between an outcome and its determinants. Models with more than one equation are most valuable, as they allow for both direct and indirect effects and also two-way relationships to be captured. Models can be used to examine the impact of a programme or policy by introducing them as an exogenous change in some of the variables, parameters or equations.
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JOURNAL ARTICLES BLOGS
Responsible Innovation in Technology for Children: Digital technology, play and child well-being
Publication

Responsible Innovation in Technology for Children: Digital technology, play and child well-being

Digital experiences can have significant negative impact on children, exposing them to risks or failing to nurture them adequately. Nevertheless, digital experiences also potentially yield enormous benefits for children, enabling them to learn, to create, to develop friendships, and to build worlds. While global efforts to deepen our understanding of the prevalence and impact of digital risks of harm are burgeoning – a development that is both welcome and necessary – less attention has been paid to understanding and optimizing the benefits that digital technology can provide in supporting children’s rights and their well-being. Benefits here refer not only to the absence of harm, but also to creating additional positive value. How should we recognize the opportunities and benefits of digital technology for children’s well-being? What is the relationship between the design of digital experiences – in particular, play-centred design – and the well-being of children? What guidance and measures can we use to strengthen the design of digital environments to promote positive outcomes for children? And how can we make sure that children’s insights and needs form the foundation of our work in this space? These questions matter for all those who design and promote digital experiences, to keep children safe and happy, and enable positive development and learning. These questions are particularly relevant as the world shifts its attention to emerging digital technologies and experiences, from artificial intelligence (AI) to the metaverse, and seeks to understand their impact on people and society. To begin to tackle these questions, UNICEF and the LEGO Group initiated the Responsible Innovation in Technology for Children (RITEC) project in partnership with the Young and Resilient Research Centre at Western Sydney University; the CREATE Lab at New York University; the Graduate Center, City University of New York; the University of Sheffield; the Australian Research Council Centre of Excellence for the Digital Child; and the Joan Ganz Cooney Center. The research is funded by the LEGO Foundation. The partnership is an international, multi-stakeholder and cross-sectoral collaboration between organizations that believe the design and development of digital technology should support the rights and well-being of children as a primary objective – and that children should have a prominent voice in making this a reality. This project’s primary objective is to develop, with children from around the world, a framework that maps how the design of children’s digital experiences affects their well-being, and to provide guidance as to how informed design choices can promote positive well-being outcomes.
Resources to Support Marginalized Caregivers of Children with Disabilities: Guidelines for Implementation
Publication

Resources to Support Marginalized Caregivers of Children with Disabilities: Guidelines for Implementation

Support from caregivers is critical for children’s learning both at home and at school. However, the COVID-19 pandemic and disruption of education systems globally created additional expectations for parents to support their children’s learning at home. This particularly affected the most marginalized children as the crises exacerbated already existing inequalities in education. This document introduces the approach and purpose of a set of resources to support the marginalized caregivers of children with disabilities with inclusive education. It presents lessons learned from proof-of-concept pilots in Armenia and Uzbekistan, followed by step-by-step guidelines on how to adopt and adapt the resources for education ministries and others who want to implement them in their education system.
Reopening with Resilience: Lessons from Remote Learning during COVID-19: Europe and Central Asia
Publication

Reopening with Resilience: Lessons from Remote Learning during COVID-19: Europe and Central Asia

When schools started closing their doors due to COVID-19, countries in Europe and Central Asia quickly provided alternative learning solutions for children to continue learning. More than 90 per cent of countries offered digital solutions to ensure that education activities could continue. However, lack of access to digital devices and a reliable internet connection excluded a significant amount of already marginalized children and threatened to widen the existing learning disparities. This report builds on existing evidence highlighting key lessons learned during the pandemic to promote learning for all during school closure and provides actionable policy recommendations on how to bridge the digital divide and build resilient education systems in Europe and Central Asia.

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