Paula Dias is a qualitative senior researcher at AIR with over 10 years of research experience in the development sector. She has extensive experience in qualitative methods, including ethnography and participatory methods. At AIR, she leads and contributes to a variety of mixed-methods evaluations on the topics of social protection, early childhood development, education, and agriculture. Her evaluation experience is primarily focused on Eastern and Southern Africa (Zambia, Madagascar, and Mozambique) but also includes Nicaragua, Laos, Timor-Leste, India, and the UK.
Dr. Dias currently serves as project director of a formative evaluation of an integrated social protection program and a mixed-methods impact evaluation of a cash transfer for education program in Madagascar. She also serves as qualitative lead on a process evaluation of a “cash plus” program in Mozambique, a sector analysis of Timor Leste’s pre-primary education sector, a mixed-methods evaluation of a technology-aided instruction program in Zambia, and a study on socio-economic and environmental characteristics of organic cotton farmers in India. Further, she currently contributes to two domestic projects focused on equity and education in the U.S.
Through these projects, Dr. Dias has developed skills for designing rigorous and contextually relevant studies, quickly and effectively developing tailored research instruments, training enumerators for qualitative data collection, rigorously analyzing qualitative data to understand program processes and effectiveness, and writing effective evaluation reports and dissemination materials to inform evidence-based policy decisions.
Before joining AIR, Dr. Dias conducted extensive ethnographic research in Brazil and Latin America, specifically on issues of land rights, race and identity, and the oil industry.
Ph.D. and M.A., Anthropology, Brown University; B.A., Anthropology & French Literature, Indiana University