June 29, 2021
9 AM - 10 AM EDT
Webinar, United States

On June 29, 2021, Innovations for Poverty Action (IPA) and the Global Poverty Research Lab (GPRL) at Northwestern University held a webinar on rapid phone surveys.

Random Digit Dialing (RDD) has become one of the most commonly used methods for selecting phone survey participants, especially after in-person restrictions were imposed due to COVID-19. Until now, there has been little available evidence on the effectiveness of different RDD strategies for ensuring high data quality and representativeness in low- and middle-income countries. In this webinar, researchers and experts from IPA shared strategies that allowed IPA to implement RDD surveys in nine countries in Asia, Africa, and Latin America as part of the Research for Effective COVID-19 Responses (RECOVR) rapid phone surveys (you can also learn more about IPA's RECOVR work on remote surveying methods here). These surveys documented real-time trends of policy concern and informed decision-makers about the economic toll of the pandemic. Researchers and experts also shared lessons learned on phone survey methods and recommendations to improve these methods based on two motivating examples in Mexico City and Colombia. A Q&A with the audience followed the presentations.

These findings come from a collaboration between IPA and the Northwestern University Global Poverty Research Lab (GPRL) on research methods. More on the Research Methods Initiative can be found on the GPRL and IPA websites. These results are summarized as part of GPRL’s working paper series on SSRN:

Watch the webinar recording below:


  • Andrew Dillon (Panelist), Clinical Associate Professor of Development Economics, Northwestern University, Kellogg School of Management
    Andrew Dillon is a clinical associate professor in the Kellogg School of Management and the Global Poverty Research Lab at Northwestern University. He serves as the Academic Lead for IPA’s Research Methods Initiative and as a Scientific Advisor for IPA’s Francophone West Africa country offices.
  • Shana Warren (Panelist), Research Scientist, Innovations for Poverty Action, Path-to-Scale Research
    Shana Warren is the Research Scientist on IPA's Path-to-Scale Research (PSR) team. She is responsible for identifying opportunities to bring evidence-based approaches to development challenges along the path to scale. She is also Principal Investigator (PI) and co-PI in several IPA-led research projects, including our RECOVR surveys.
  • Cosma Gabaglio (Panelist), Research Manager, Innovations for Poverty Action, Mexico
    Cosma Gabaglio works as a Research Manager for IPA Mexico. He leads IPA‘s RECOVR survey in Mexico City, which includes questions about employment and challenges with returning to work, as well as policing and insecurity.  Cosma holds an MA in Economics from the University of Zurich and a BSc in Economics from the University of Bern.
  • Laura Polanco (Panelist), Research Associate, Innovations for Poverty Action, Colombia & the Dominican Republic
    Laura works as a Research Associate at IPA Dominican Republic and Colombia on the Research for Effective COVID-19 Responses (RECOVR) survey. She holds a BA in Economics from the Instituto Tecnológico de Santo Domingo (INTEC). She has worked on projects related to environmental and behavioral economics as well as evaluating conditional cash transfer programs.
  • Margarita Rosa Cabra Garcia (Panelist), Senior Research Associate, Innovations for Poverty Action, Colombia & the Dominican Republic
    Margarita works on the Research for Effective COVID-19 Responses (RECOVR) survey as a Senior Research Associate at IPA Colombia. She holds a Bachelor's degree in Economics and a Master’s of Economics from Universidad de Los Andes. She pursued a Master's degree in Development Economics from the Georg August University of Göttingen.
  • Michael Rosenbaum (Moderator), Research Methods & Data Coordinator, Innovations for Poverty Action, Global Research & Data Support
    Michael supports IPA's research projects through the creation of technical research materials, direct technical support to projects, as well as implementation and analysis of projects as part of IPA's Research Methods Initiative. He holds a Bachelor’s degree in Public Policy Studies from the University of Chicago.


Phone Surveys using Random Digit Dialing: Lessons learned from IPA’s multi-country RECOVR surveys
Andrew Dillon, Cosma Gabaglio, Margarita Rosa Cabra Garcia, Laura Polanco, Michael Rosenbaum, Shana Warren