President’s Desk

Research to Solve Problems

The 2023 SSRC Centennial Lectures showcased a shared focus on not only describing problems, but also finding solutions to those problems. SSRC President Anna Harvey reflects on what it means to pursue research designed to solve problems, and how the SSRC can most effectively support problem-solving research.

Master Protocols for USAID Social and Behavioral Change Research

The Social Science Research Council recently submitted a response to an RFI from the National Institutes of Health’s Common Fund, detailing how the NIH could improve the reliability of evidence in behavioral research by borrowing the idea of master protocols from the field of oncology. Master protocols are coordinated multisite trials followed by meta-analysis designed to assess both the internal and the external validity of interventions across populations. Here, we share a related submission to an RFI from USAID, suggesting that master protocols could also help USAID achieve its goals of improving the quality of its social and behavioral change (SBC) programming while simultaneously ensuring responsiveness to local SBC priorities and centering locally-led SBC research teams.

Master Protocols: A Tool for Increasing the Reliability of Behavioral Evidence

Social Science Research Council President Anna Harvey shares a recent submission to an RFI from the NIH’s Common Fund, detailing how the NIH could improve the reliability of evidence in behavioral research by borrowing the idea of master protocols from the field of oncology. Master protocols are coordinated multisite trials, followed by meta-analysis, to assess both the internal and external validity of interventions across populations. NIH support for master protocols to evaluate the impacts of behavioral interventions on outcomes like vaccination uptake could significantly advance the policy relevance of evidence in behavioral health research.

Menu