Our Approach to Research, Learning & Evaluation

AJWS adheres to six guiding principles when designing research to assess the impact of our work.

  • Credible: When we conduct research in the countries where we make grants, we collaborate with local organizations that have credibility in their communities, in social and political movements, and among significant international partners.
  • Usable: We communicate our findings in ways that are relevant and clear to AJWS’s key audiences, including organizations that are part of the social and political movements in which our grantees participate, government officials, journalists, and other funders engaged in human rights philanthropy.
  • Interactive: We use participatory methodologies and ensure that research findings are both shared with and vetted by partners. We value meaningful input from local people to determine topics of inquiry, conduct interviews, analyze data and provide feedback on our findings. In this way, our research helps both AJWS and the communities we support learn from the successes and challenges we collectively identify.
  • Feminist: We seek a broad spectrum of perspectives in our research, including those of ethnic and religious minorities; women, girls and LGBT people; and indigenous. Our research strives to privilege the perspectives of these marginalized groups, while paying careful attention to issues affecting women and girls.
  • Sustainable: We seek to identify both short-term gains and ongoing progress in realizing human rights. We track what works and what doesn’t, and we apply what we learn to advance deep, systemic change.
  • Evidence-Based: Evidence helps us identify the strengths and weaknesses of our strategies and programs, identify trends, and understand bias. With evidence in hand, we are able to strengthen our impact, because we can capitalize on what works, change what doesn’t, sharpen our strategies and focus our resources.

AJWS articulates key learning questions about our work and uses multiple methodologies to generate evidence. Case studies, participatory baselines, and independent, external studies of our contribution are just a few of the ways that we learn about our impact.