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Improving research quality: how good is the literature on the impact of education on HIV and AIDS?

Working papers

Written by Fiona Samuels

This Background Note outlines an ODI stocktaking review of research on HIV and AIDs in the education sector, commissioned by UNAIDS. There is growing recognition of the need to improve and accelerate the education response to HIV and AIDS. In order to establish an evidence base that would help inform programming and advocacy responses in the education sector, more information was needed in terms of what studies existed, their quality and any gaps in the evidence. 

ODI research found that most studies focused on the knowledge, attitudes and practices (KAP) towards HIV and AIDS of students and young children (versus teachers and parents/communities); and, among these, the majority used quantitative survey methods. Almost all studies relied on self-reported behaviour, captured through questionnaires or focus group discussions, with only nine studies using biological markers; proxy indicators were used as an alternative to self-reported behaviour and biological markers. Despite variations in scores, 86% of studies were found to be strong in part or all areas. Situation assessments and literature reviews accounted for the largest proportion of the reports that were weaker. 

The Background Note includes 10 examples of best practice on this issue.

Fiona Samuels