Research agenda and focus areas

The research team at CSBC designs, executes, and analyses empirical studies to understand human behaviour, particularly in low-resource settings. We use the same measurement techniques and analytical methods across projects, bringing the same rigorous approach to uncovering new hypotheses for behaviour change, improving behavioural decision-making models, or testing the impact of a behaviourally-informed policy intervention in the field.

Research Team and Structure

Our field empirics team is responsible for designing and executing empirical research across sectors.

Our toolbox includes:

  • Lab experiments designed to study decision-making and strategic interactions in a controlled setting.
  • Lab-in-the-field and field experiments to test interventions designed to influence certain behaviours in a target group.
  • Exploratory research to better understand prevailing behaviours and norms using surveys, interviews, and focus group discussions.

Our data collection plans are grounded in literature review and statistical analysis. We often work with implementation partners and data collection agencies to conduct experiments. Finally, we develop comprehensive analysis plans, while ensuring adherence to research protocols and the ethical conduct of research. CSBC follows Ashoka University’s IRB guidelines, which can be found here.

We also contribute to CSBC’s experimental research portfolio. Our experts apply their programming skills to the innovative collection of primary outcomes using games. We also analyse field data, applying contemporary methods for experiments using Python, R, or Stata, while maintaining fidelity.

Our data analytics team is responsible for examining holistic data to support and pursue pioneering research projects.

Our DA Team wears two hats:

We develop original behavioural science-driven research and execute them using machine learning. Our ML work frequently leverages secondary data to develop insights on behaviour relevant to nutrition, health, and gender.

Our experts apply their programming skills to the innovative collection of primary outcomes using games. We also analyse field data, applying contemporary methods for experiments using Python, R, or Stata, while maintaining fidelity.

Our academic research team investigates fundamental behavioural questions leveraging work from sociology, economics, cognitive neuroscience, and psychology.

We have set out multi-year research agendas to advance the centre’s understanding of BeSci in a developing country context, including:

  • Understanding the interaction between intrinsic and extrinsic factors and their roles in decision-making,
  • Investigating the underpinnings of gender-based norms and their roles in development outcomes,
  • Incorporating the use of new and existing artificial intelligence and machine learning techniques to the challenges of development, and
  • Operationalising more objective measurement of behaviour across research topics.
Our Behavioural Design & Impact Lab combines the empathy and flexibility of design thinking with the rigour of behavioural science to tackle sticky behaviour steeped in social and cultural norms.

The lab’s core functions include:

  • Generating evidence-driven and behaviourally-informed solutions: The lab Identifies effective behavioural solutions to improve indicators in certain policy areas and indicators through a rigorous behaviour change process of discovering, designing, and evaluating.
  • Building foundational knowledge on behavioural design: The lab is building a strong foundational knowledge base on various aspects of the behavioural design process.

Our Behavioural Design & Impact lab is unique for its interdisciplinarity, usage of multiple research lenses and participatory design process. We design for scale, ensuring that our solutions can be scale up and implemented feasibly.

Pop-U.P. lab

The Pop-U.P. Lab is a crucial component of CSBC's toolkit for providing evidence-based solutions to policy problems. The goal is to bring research to where people live and work, bridging the gap between the community and scientific inquiry. Established by CSBC's UP Behavioural Insights Unit in Uttar Pradesh (U.P.), the lab pops up in locations with access to desired respondents and is equipped with advanced technological infrastructure for mobility. It benefits from a skilled field team that ensures high-quality standards through extensive training and rigorous quality checks.
Learn more.

In Focus

Ludo King

CSBC evaluated the use of gamification to change intentions about mask-wearing. Treatment subjects played the “Mask Mode” of the phone-based game Ludo King, while others played the popular standard version. Another group also saw video messages about mask-wearing after playing the standard version of Ludo King.

Building vaccine hesitancy personas from large-scale survey data

CSBC used the data from the Global COVID-19 Trends and Impact Survey (CTIS) by the University of Maryland, in partnership with Facebook to identify five vaccine hesitancy personas in India. The data revealed the main reasons for vaccine hesitancy behind each persona, and we recommended targeted behavioural insights for each persona.

Improving Compliance of Complementary Feeding Practices

CSBC conducted diagnostic field work, in Madhya Pradesh, that led us to understand the barriers around messaging, language, and lack of knowledge sharing and support. In response, we developed a fourteen-day messaging plan that was sent to moderated WhatsApp groups of young mothers. These messages used components and practices of different behavioural principles to reduce cognitive load, simplify mental models, create commitment devices and feedback loops. Upon testing the efficacy of the intervention, we saw that the intervention had a statistically significant effect in increasing compliance to minimum meal frequency and minimum adequate diet.

Engage with us

CSBC’s research team is always seeking participants for experiments! Sign up to take part in one of our studies.

Click here