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Research Methods

WorkFREE is a multi-method study centred around the creation of a social experiment. That experiment involves providing all residents of four informal settlements (or bastis) in Hyderabad, India an Unconditional Basic Income (UBI) for 18 months and needs-focussed community organising support for 24 months. This is what we call a UBI+.

We aim to document and analyse what happens for whom, how and why, using surveys, qualitative tools, and ethnography. Four rounds of survey will take place: baseline, midline, endline and nine months after the end of the experiment. These surveys include traditional elements like consumption modules alongside more innovative ones like ‘the ladder of freedom’. The latter provides evidence of individuals’ own assessments of the agency they have over their lives, and the key factors and processes that they perceive shape their capacity for making decisions. 


Our qualitative tools include interviews, focus group discussions, and participatory activities like photovoice – a qualitative method used in community-based participatory research to document and reflect reality – or role play. These will be conducted at multiple points with purposively chosen groups to provide in-depth examination of key questions and a deeper dive into themes emerging from previous rounds of data. 


Lastly, and we think quite excitingly, members of our team will be conducting ethnographic fieldwork over many months in our participant communities so as to enable deep, rich examination of social relations and change.

You can find more about our research design by reading our qualitative design and survey documentation.

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