Research is a key component of the SHOPS Plus project. The project conducts studies related to the private health sector in the areas of family planning and reproductive health, HIV, and child health. SHOPS Plus generates evidence, applies it to activity implementation, and contributes to the general body of knowledge on global health issues. The studies are classified into six categories: global research, provider censuses, formative research, process evaluations, impact evaluations, and qualitative behavioral research.
SHOPS Plus global research studies examine family planning, HIV, and child health outcomes across different countries. These studies allow for the identification of differentials between countries and exploration of trends over time. Results contribute to the global knowledge base on private sector health programs.
Formative research informs current and future private sector health activities. It may occur before a program is designed and implemented or while a program is being conducted. These studies produce results that feed directly into decisionmaking, as they help define the problem and describe the current situation.
This type of study evaluates how a program is implemented. It documents how the program was developed, how it operated, and whether it conformed to its original design. The evaluation results provide information about how to improve the program’s implementation and how to modify it in future iterations.
Impact evaluations use rigorous study designs to determine whether activities have had an impact on a variety of outcomes. These studies focus on measuring changes in outcomes that are directly attributable to the activities. SHOPS Plus conducts both randomized controlled trials and quasi-experimental design studies.
Qualitative Behavioral Research
SHOPS Plus behavioral research studies are implemented to understand the behaviors, intentions, and motivations of private sector actors or clients, and to explain how these behaviors can influence health outcomes. Researchers use this type of study to gain a better understanding of the reasons behind particular results.
Private provider censuses collect a broad range of information on all private providers, such as GPS coordinates, services offered, and quality of care in a specified geographic area. Census results provide an up-to-date picture of the size, scope, and composition of the private health sector and can be used by a variety of stakeholders to identify gaps in services and inform the development and implementation of private sector programs.