The Research Process

What happens once selected?

Reach has developed a unique approach to uncover how and why certain interventions are able to reach the world’s poorest of the poor. Over 12-18 months, research teams conduct extensive secondary and primary research, and receive in-depth training and coaching to foster purpose-driven moral leadership that will accelerate their capacity to tackle the world’s most pressing challenges.

1. Pitching & Selecting Case Studies

Successful applicants are first tasked with identifying highly innovative interventions that have demonstrated success in reaching hard to reach populations. Pitch sessions are held during the summer months where students make the case for why the Reach program should study that particular intervention. 

Past case studies have examined such topics as: how to reach refugees with a biometric cash assistance program in Jordan; how to eliminate mother-to-child transmission of HIV in Thailand; how to get affordable solar panels to nomadic herders in Mongolia; and how to provide self-directed home care to the elderly and people living with chronic disabilities.   

2. Research Team Formation & Project Design

In early Fall, several case studies are selected for investigation, research teams are formed, and faculty mentors are designated. Students are mentored for 12-18 months by dedicated faculty mentors as they undertake intensive primary and secondary research. The research process involves case selection, desk research, research design and ethics, research methods, stakeholder interviews, field research. Reach researchers have conducted field research all over the world, including in Africa, Latin America, Oceania, South Asia, Southeast Asia, Northeast Asia, as well as in Canada.  

Due to COVID19 pandemic, travel will be restricted until the University of Toronto permits international activities for students (see Study Abroad site for notices).  Until further notice, all Reach Alliance meetings and field work, such as researcher interviews, will be conducted virtually over Zoom or via phone.

3. Professional Skills Development & Performance Coaching  

In conjunction with the research process, students participate in a series of workshops that build professional skills to support their research activities throughout the academic year. A team of professional performance coaches work with the teams to share best practices and regular feedback, which is pivotal to developing a team culture that drives high performance.

4. Case Report & Knowledge Translation

When the data collection is completed, teams produce a case study report, highlighting the actionable insights from each project. Research findings are presented at the annual Reach Symposium attended by leading thinkers, researchers and practitioners from the public, private and civil society sectors. Some teams have gone on and published their research in prominent journals and media outlets.