Information for Funders
For specific evaluation studies that the funder supports, RIDIE offers a means to ensure the credibility, unbiasedness, and quality of the research. In particular, prospective registration of the study — under which evaluators lay out hypotheses, subgroups for analysis, and other design details — minimizes the potential for post hoc data mining or specification searches, whereby researchers use the results to decide what outcomes to report or specifications to use. Funders may choose to make pre-registration a condition of their support for a study.
In addition, RIDIE provides a straightforward mechanism for funders to monitor a study's progress and assess whether the evaluation is proceeding according to the initial design. By agreement with funders, researchers can easily download all study information and share that information with funders. This can include public information directly accessible from the RIDIE website as well as private information the researcher chooses not to release publicly before study completion.
How Funders Can Use RIDIE
Funders can search for studies in a particular country, region, or topical domain. Doing so can help them set funding priorities or evaluate particular funding applications (to ensure the study truly fills an information need).
Ensuring Transparency of Funded Studies
Funders may request or require that studies they fund be registered on RIDIE.
For example, in addition to requiring that researchers specify hypotheses prior to data collection, the funder could require that researchers upload a comprehensive pre-analysis plan with specified elements. A pre-analysis plan is a detailed outline of the analysis plan written in advance of seeing the data, which may specify hypotheses to be tested, variable construction, equations to be estimated, controls to be used, and other aspects of the analysis. This funder would also presumably require that the study findings and other information be posted to RIDIE upon completion of the evaluation.
Note that RIDIE takes a fairly open approach and does not impose many requirements for reporting. For example, while researchers have to specify the outcomes or endpoints they will study, the fields for specifying hypotheses to be tested are not required. Therefore simply registering a study is not a guarantee that a researcher has entered a comprehensive prospective registration. It will be up to the funding organization to set specific requirements for their grantees based on their individual needs and preferences.
Monitoring Funded Studies
RIDIE provides a mechanism for researchers to update their study data with new information or changes to the study design — for example, a change in sample size or evaluation method necessitated by developments on the ground. These revisions to the original entry are tracked and date- and time-stamped in the RIDIE database. Funders can request that the researcher download information on changes and email it to them as an attachment when the changes occur. Alternatively, the researcher can submit updated RIDIE forms at the regular reporting intervals for the grant or contract. In other words, RIDIE can easily be integrated into standard reporting requirements. As noted earlier, the information provided can include both public and private details of the study.