The UNOPS Applied Research Unit (ARU) conducts applied social science research for UN agencies and other humanitarian and development actors globally.
What we do
The ARU undertakes applied social science research for UN agencies and other actors in the humanitarian community, the private sector within the Global Compact Context, and local government authorities, both in Sri Lanka and internationally. The research includes baseline surveys, project evaluations, community consultations and impact and monitoring studies, where possible combining quantitative and qualitative research methods in order to achieve best results.
Data collection tools
Data collection tools are jointly constructed with clients or shared before implementation. For quantitative data, the data collection process employs hand-held computers known as PDAs (Personal Digital Assistants) and the EmergencyInfo software developed by DevInfo, a global UN initiative to develop a free, user-friendly system for monitoring country progress toward achievement of the Millennium Development Goals. Qualitative information is gathered through focused group discussions and key informant interviews, typically based on a pre-established framework of analysis that is used to structure and interpret the data.
Although the ARU did not officially form until April 2008, its first commission started after the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami, when UNOPS was contracted by UNICEF in Sri Lanka to undertake surveys of the transitional shelters in the south and east of the country. This two-year project led to the development of the ARU which now offers services to UNOPS partners around the world.