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Social and Rural Research Institute


Social and Rural Research Institute (SRI) has been set up by IMRB International in 1990 with the objective servicing the clients in the development sector with focused efforts.

SRI, over the years, has developed strong expertise and capabilities for designing and conducting surveys that deliver high quality data and insights to the clients across the globe. SRI depends completely and only on the quality data, whether it is primary or secondary. This forms a foundation to the success of clients and contribution to public policy based on the strong and reliable evidence.

A strong client servicing team, project managers and research team along with experienced field force across the country provide strength to SRI for designing and executing innovative and complex studies at the national and international levels. SRI survey research services include study design, instrument development and evaluation, pre-tests, pilot studies, conducting studies using various methods like mails, telephones, face-to-face field surveys, web surveys, abstraction of records from the private and public sector organizations, collection of biological specimens, identification and conducting surveys with hidden groups, using techniques like focus groups etc.

The wide scope of survey teams allows SRI to meet any data collection need, to maintain total control over the quality of data and to assemble efficient and effective teams for various projects. SRI has an experience of conducting national studies that cover every district in India within a very short period of time without compromising on the quality of the data. SRI’s field and research staff also go through regular orientation on the ethical responsibilities that the team needs to uncompromisingly adhere to, while executing the research studies in various sectors.

The strength of SRI also comes from the knowledge and resource sharing with other business units of IMRB which allows the new and innovative ideas to flow into the research related to the social sector. SRI also has built strong network of external consultants from various sectors and techniques to add value to the specific client requirements.

Focus Areas

SRI Focus Areas / Sectors
SRI provides research services to client working in various spears in development sectors. An indicative list of sectors that SRI has works in are presented below:

  • Public Health
  • Population and Family Planning
  • Poverty & Livelihood
  • Media
  • Disasters
  • Technology
  • Education
  • Governance
  • Micro-credit/ Micro Finance
  • Trade & Development
  • Disabilities
  • Agriculture
  • Water Supply & Sanitation

SRI Research Capabilities
SRI is capable of delivering the following services either in full or in a combination to suit the requirements of the specific projects of the clients.

  • Data collection & Quality Control
  • Study Design
  • Weighting and Imputation
  • Cross Cultural Issues and Translation
  • Questionnaire Design and Evaluation
  • Data Scrutiny
  • Generating Actionable Insights
  • Data collection systems & Management
  • Sampling
  • Analysis
  • Human Subjects
  • Cognitive Pre-testing
  • Disclosure Avoidance and Data Delivery
  • Strategic consulting based on evidence generated

Research Innovations

Using longitudinal surveys to assess the impact of communication on the behavior maintenance

This study was intended to provide inputs to decide the strategy and duration of the communication campaign to affect the behavior change by using the media more rationally. As a methodological innovation, SRI has coupled the longitudinal methodology with control and intervention methods to observe impact of the communication on the behavior change. The interesting part is, through multivariate analysis, to study the beneficiary’s tendency to continue with the learned behavior even after the exposure to the communication stops.

Mystery Patient approach to assess the quality of the service delivery

To assess the quality of the service delivered by the health service providers and adherence to the procedures that they were trained on, SRI-IMRB has recruited and trained the actual health-care seekers to work as researchers on this study, visit the doctors, observe the treatment methods and report for the record. The study was conducted with detailed consultation and strict adherence to the ethical norms. The challenge was in recruiting and training such researchers and delivering high quality data. The results were found by the client to be to be extremely useful for their program strategy evaluation.

Mystery client approach for validation of the data

When conducting quality assurance through back-checks on the hidden groups is not possible, validation of the data is always under a question. As one of the operational innovations, SRI trained some investigators to conduct mystery visits to some of the hidden groups to validate the reported data. Investigators approach their respondents as clients to their services to gather information. This approach is followed in studies where behavioral practices are intensively probed to validate the data.

Innovative methods for the random sampling of hidden population groups

In Time Location Cluster Sampling (TLCS), conglomeration sites are enumerated in a preliminary ethnographic mapping or pre-surveillance assessment exercise not as one site, but as different sites depending upon time, primarily because at each time cluster, each of these sites behaves differently in comparison to another time cluster. In each of the time clusters the profile of the respondent is found to be different. Hence dividing clusters as per time locations helps in ensuring the representativeness of the sample and also analyzing behavioral patterns specific to the profile of the respondents in each of the sites.

Methodological advancement to study the absenteeism among the public service providers

The method of physical verification conducted through surprise visits in the selected facilities at three random points of time to substantiate evidence on availability of service providers at the service delivery points.

Use of economic and psychological models for understanding the behavioral patterns

Pricing study – the use of price sensitivity index in ascertaining the optimum price range for products that a community prefers is explored, using existing price sensitivity models commonly used in brand research. It is through this method, that the scope of brand research designs are expanded for also understanding the rural markets for products pertaining to safe water, family planning, etc.

Consumer psychometrics (PLHIV, Care and Support) – Psychological mapping matrix are also being commonly used in social and rural research projects to draw linkages between behavior and profile of respondents. Use of such methods provides diversified insights on the socio-cultural inclinations and control over behavior among consumers/beneficiaries.

Using GPS meters to track the panel households

Use of GPS meters to identify sampled households is commonly used in panel studies as it is crucial for the purpose of the study to be able to retract to the same households for the subsequent round of data collection. This is extremely critical in the slum areas and rural areas where the houses are not attached with proper address. GPS devises are also used to develop navigation maps which specify the actual spread of population groups and respective service providers catering to the community.

Case Studies

All India Survey of Out-Of-School Children in the 6-13 years age group

Two rounds of the survey to estimate state-wise number of out-of-school children have been conducted in all the states and UTs of the country. One round of data was collected during July-October 2005 from 87,874 households and the second round of data was collected during February – April 2009 from 99,226 households. The proportion of estimated number of out-of-school children in the two rounds was 6.94% and 4.28% respectively of the total children in this age-group. The study involved population projections at state level, estimation methods and rigorous sampling based on the NSS rural and urban sampled units of 61st and 64th rounds respectively. The study has been conducted for Educational Consultants India Limited.

Assessment of progress in Integrated Planning districts

Midline survey among all the 17 IP districts of UNICEF spread across 14 states was conducted in March – May 2008. The study covers areas of maternal and child health, education, child protection and HIV/AIDS. It also provides information on the status of facilities in the sample villages. The study involved rigorous sampling and detailed estimation procedure. The study has been conducted for UNICEF.

Teacher and Health worker absenteeism survey

The study covered 20 Indian states, representing 98 percent of the population to measure the absence of service providers in health and education facilities. Three unannounced visits were made to each of 3700 schools and public health facilities each in 2003. The survey focused on government-run primary schools, but it also covered rural private schools and private-aided schools located in villages where government schools were surveyed. The absence data was collected from direct physical verification, rather than the attendance logbooks. The study has been conducted for the World Bank with intensive involvement of economists from Harvard University.

About the researchers

Tracking HIV Risk Behaviour among High Risk Groups and General Population

The study was designed towards tracking the knowledge and attitudes with regard to the HIV-AIDS prevention and the sexual behavior, drug injecting practices etc., among the vulnerable population groups. The study follows several unique and interesting sampling techniques to obtain the data from hard to reach population groups in order to provide actionable insights to the clients in directing their intervention activities in the state under NACP-III. The study has been conducted for APAC Project and AVERT (both USAID Projects in India), TAI (Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation Project) and many other clients in India.

Participatory Situation Appraisal among Children Living in Slums

The study aimed towards providing a platform for children to speak their mind and let the world into their world of fear, uncertainties and abuse. A mix of quantitative and qualitative research methodologies were used to draw insights on the lives of children living in populous slums in two major metropolitan cities for the client, Plan International – India Chapter.

Hygiene Practices in School, with Focus on the MDM Scheme

The study explored the hygiene practices followed in various rural schools for preparation of MDM. The availability of hygiene infrastructure; knowledge and attitude towards hygiene guidelines and actual behavior were explored not only through face to face interviews but through elaborate observations in schools. The study aimed at providing insights to our client, UNICEF India on the variations of hygiene practices and classification of schools on the basis of hygiene infrastructure available to provide insights guiding development of program interventions.

Tracking HIV Risk Behaviour among High Risk Groups and Transgender

The study was designed towards tracking the knowledge and attitudes with regard to the HIV-AIDS prevention and the sexual behavior, drug injecting practices etc., among the high risk population groups and transgender groups. The study follows several unique and interesting sampling techniques to obtain the data from hard to reach population groups in order to provide actionable insights to the client, TAI directing their intervention activities in the state.

Tracking HIV Risk Behavior among High Risk Groups for 12 Rounds

The study was designed towards tracking the knowledge and attitudes with regard to the HIV-AIDS prevention and the sexual behavior, drug injecting practices etc., among the vulnerable population groups. The study follows several unique and interesting sampling techniques to obtain the data from hard to reach population groups in order to provide actionable insights to the client, APAC directing their intervention activities in the state.

Digital Equalizer Program

The study was directed towards assessing the impact of The American India Foundation's (AIF) Digital Equalizer (DE) Program which is a Computer Aided Learning (CAL) program that is bridging the education and digital divide among students in India. A representative sample of students’, teachers, principals and government officials from DE and Non DE schools was obtained and with advanced indexing techniques comparative scores of schools were assessed to help AIF strategize their action plan. The program has expanded to another 200 schools in April 2010.

Behaviour Tracking Surveys among Truck Drivers and Helpers in Intervention sites

Behavior Tracking Surveys (BTS), an Avahan Project funded by Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, aimed towards tracking the knowledge, attitudes with regard to the HIV-AIDS prevention and the sexual behavior among the trucking population in the country. The study, which started in 2008 and is still continuing, follows several unique and distinctive sampling and advanced analysis techniques to obtain insights form the data and to decode the psychographic and behavioral insights for program managers to help strategize their intervention activities.

Conducting Mapping Study of Long Distance Truck Driver Halt Points & Identifying Transport Sector Stakeholders who can carry out HIV Prevention Interventions among the Long Distance Truck Drivers – NACO

Mapping study undertaken for National AIDS Control Organization (NACO) was aimed towards sizing the truck driver and helper population in the country and to suggest the feasible locations for carrying out the intervention programs. A distinct and unique approach was developed to identify the locations and estimate the number of truck drivers and helpers in India. The study formed the basis of strategizing and designing the intervention National Truck Driver and helper program initiative by NACO, MoHFW.

Our Clients

Bilateral / Multilateral / Funding Agencies

  • The World Bank
  • The Futures Group
  • WHO
  • DFID
  • Ford Foundation
  • International Centre for Research on Women (ICRW)
  • Action AidBill and Melinda Gates Foundation
  • Packard Foundation

Central and State Governments and their departments

  • Ed CIL (Educational Consultants of India Limited)
  • Ministry of Rural Development
  • Ministry of Health & Family Welfare
  • Ministry of Consumer Affairs
  • Ministry of Forests & Environment
  • State AIDS Control Societies
  • Government of Karnataka
  • Andhra Pradesh Forest Department
  • Department of Adult Education
  • Department of Women & Child Development
  • Doordarshan
  • Lok Seva Sanchar Parishad

NGOs / Technical Units

  • Center for Policy Research
  • CARE
  • APAC
  • Population Services International
  • Parivar Seva Sanstha
  • Partners in Change
  • Pathfinders International
  • Abt Associates
  • Sexual Health Resource Center
  • Micronutrient Initiative
  • World Vision
  • Family Health International
  • PATH International
  • Tamil Nadu AIDS Initiative

Corporate and other clients

  • Brooke Bond-Lipton
  • Eicher Goodearth
  • Hindustan Lever
  • Rallis India
  • Tata Chemicals
  • Thompson Social
  • GSK
  • Major Clients of SRI

Contact Us

"SRI invites you get in touch for project related questions, assistance or any business needs"

A.V. Surya
Vice President-Social Research
This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
Tel: 0091-11-42697914


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