Should I Register My Study?

Simone D. McCourtie / World Bank Mariana Ceratti / World Bank Tran Thi Hoa / World Bank Chhor Sokunthea / World Bank
We encourage you to register any development-focused impact evaluation that uses rigorous methods to estimate the causal impacts of a program or intervention via specification of the counterfactual, that is, a comparison between what actually happened and what would have happened in the absence of the program. These methods can include experiments (randomized controlled trials) but are not limited to them — they also include non-experimental designs such as matching, regression discontinuity, difference in difference, natural experiments, instrumental variables, and regression with appropriate controls. The impact evaluation can use primary data collected specifically for the study or secondary (existing) data.

The program or intervention you are evaluating should take place in a low- or middle-income country and can be in any domain related to development (e.g., education, health, agriculture, governance, employment). The program should be well defined, and not simply a policy-related variable such as "distance to schools" or cost.

Since RIDIE is defined as a prospective registry, we encourage researchers to register their studies before they begin collecting or analyzing data on program impacts. There are several significant benefits to prospective registration to study authors as well as to the wider research and policy-making communities.

Finally, while RIDIE stresses the importance of using rigorous methods for causal attribution of impact, there is no requirement for studies to meet specific standards of quality or credibility. Registrations are not reviewed in this way, though they are given basic checks for completeness and consistency. It is not the purpose of the registry to evaluate research quality.