Research Associate, Inclusive Education Data At Sightsavers

Sightsavers is recruiting for an experienced Research Associate to lead and provide technical support to the Inclusive education research in Sierra Leone which aims to develop and test context appropriate methodologies for collecting disability data relevant to education and integrating these data within the national Education Management Information System (EMIS).

Title: Research Associate, Inclusive Education Data
Location: Sierra Leone, Freetown
Contract: 2 year Fixed Term Contract

As Research Associate, you will work with our global Research team and Sierra Leone Country Office, as well as the Ministry of Basic and Senior Secondary Education (MBSSE) and partner organisations of persons with disabilities (OPDs), and will be responsible for setting up the study process and for collecting, analysing and disseminating data generated by this research.

This role will suit an experienced researcher with a strong interest in education and disability research, experience and understanding of education data systems and a broad range of expertise using both quantitative and qualitative methods. You will be proactive, passionate and keen to be involved at all levels of planning, organising, facilitating and analysis.

More information Sightsavers’ Research can be found here 

Accountabilities of the Research Associate include:

  • Work with the Sightsavers Research team and Sierra Leone Country office to develop the research protocol and data collection tools appropriate for the local context;
  • Liaise with MBSSE, relevant education and other stakeholders at different levels to secure their understanding and buy-in of the study and to obtain all necessary approvals, including ethics clearance;
  • Develop a methodology and conduct an assessment of the national EMIS with a specific focus on disability data, using a variety of methods, including document reviews, routine data analyses and qualitative interviews and focus group discussions (FGDs) with stakeholders;
  • Work with the Sightsavers Research team, Sierra Leone Country office, and MBSSE to adapt and test tools for collecting disability data in selected schools and in the community using the Washington Group Short Set of Questions, the UNICEF Child Functioning Module and the Washington Group Inclusive Education tool.
  • Use in-depth qualitative interviews, FGDs and participatory research methods to understand the experiences of using the tools and their applicability within the education system;
  • Lead on all aspects of the study, including planning, recruiting field teams, training, supervision, quality assurance and logistical support;
  • Ensure that the research process adheres strictly to the research protocol, ethics and agreed budget;
  • In collaboration with the Research team lead on the analysis of data and write up of findings;
  • Work with the Education and EMIS stakeholders on the recommendations for the integration of disability data collection tools within EMIS;
  • In collaboration with the Sierra Leone Country Office and advocacy team, set up processes and lead on the communication and dissemination of research findings to all relevant stakeholders;
  • Lead on and contribute to peer-reviewed publications and conferences presenting study results;

Knowledge, skills and experience for Research Associate Inclusive Education data


  • Post-graduate degree at least at Masters level in a relevant discipline (for example: education, social sciences, political sciences, public health) or equivalent experience;
  • Excellent knowledge of different research paradigms and methods, including both quantitative and qualitative approaches;
  • Demonstrable experience of conducting and managing the planning, design, undertaking and supervision of research in the areas of health, education, and/or disability in sub-Saharan Africa;
  • Understanding of research governance and ethical principles particularly in relation to research with children and vulnerable people;
  • Good knowledge of the education system in Sierra Leone, including its governance, structures and information systems;
  • Experience of working in partnership with stakeholders, including those in the education system;
  • Experience of education systems research and data systems
  • Knowledge of disability measurement tools, such as Washington group questions and Child Functioning Module;
  • Experience of collecting quantitative and qualitative data and fieldwork supervision;
  • Experience of data analysis and report writing, including the use of software packages such as Stata, Nvivo, ATLAS.ti, etc:
  • Experience of presenting at conferences and writing peer-reviewed publications
  • Excellent English language communication skills;
  • Availability to travel nationally within Sierra Leone (Covid-19 restrictions allowing).


  • Experience of working with MBSSE and OPD partners
  • Experience of disability or inclusive education systems research, or data systems

The Research Associate, Inclusive education data, is a highly varied and involved role and the above is not an exhaustive list of duties or required professional skills. Please see the Job Description for full details.

Closing date: 11pm Sunday 11 April 2021

Interviews are likely to take place early/mid-May 2021

How to apply

Closing date: 11pm Sunday 11 April 2021

Interviews are likely to take place early/mid-May 2021

To apply

As an equal opportunities employer we actively encourage applications from all sections of the community. Sightsavers is a Disability Confident Leader and qualified people living with a disability are particularly encouraged to apply.

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September 2023