Catalysing transformative change in beneficial ownership transparency

  • Publication date: 01 September 2020
  • Authors: Open Ownership, Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI)


Following the development of the conceptual framework and research questions, the research was conducted in three phases:

  • Phase 1: Assumptions mapping and sampling
  • Phase 2: Development of research instruments, training, and data collection
  • Phase 3: Synthesis

The research phase started by developing a research framework that proposed a theoretical framework for country classification, support, and implementers and secondary beneficiaries. This informed the sampling for the programme design research. The research tested the assumptions in the theoretical framework to establish whether the proposed country selection criteria and support models were suitable for programme design. The full research framework is available in Annex 1. Due to the restrictions related to COVID-19, the research was designed to take place remotely from the outset. Whilst the research team made use of digital collaborative tools as best as they could, at times this constrained the work.

Phase 1: Assumptions mapping and sampling

Assumptions mapping

Country selection (Theme 1)

The framework proposed that country selection should be driven by wanting to see effective implementation translating to visible and measurable impact. Therefore, the programme should initially prioritise countries that have the highest chance of successful BOT implementation, resulting in the largest measurable impact as a result of the programme, and the research should focus on criteria that affect these two aspects and the assumptions that underpin these. For the research, successful impact of BOT is seen as the publication of high quality data that is being actively used by a range of different stakeholders (industry, government, civil society) for their respective uses.

Based on a review of internal documentation (e.g. scoping and assessment tools, country analyses, and reports), the following main criteria that impact successful implementation were identified:

  1. Governance and regulatory effectiveness;
  2. Political interest or will;
  3. Rule of law and regulatory effectiveness.

The following criteria affecting the level of impact were identified:

  1. Level of corruption involving the extractives sector;
  2. Current visibility of BO among key stakeholders;
  3. Demand for BOT from existing user groups.

The following criteria that impact implementation and determine the type of support that may be given were identified:

  1. Technical capacity;
  2. Multi-stakeholder collaboration;
  3. Progress along BOT journey.

The research aimed to test the assumptions underpinning these criteria. The full overview of these assumptions is included in the research framework in Annex 1.

Support services offered by EITI and OO (Theme 2)

The combined services and types of support that EITI and OO currently offer were subsequently mapped, from which assumptions were distilled and gaps identified.

A typology of implementers and potential programme beneficiaries was developed based on both organisations’ experience:

Table 1. Typology of implementers and potential programme beneficiaries
Primary beneficiaries Secondary beneficiaries
● Government decision-makers (G-DEC);
● Government implementers (G-IMP);
● Government data users (G-USE);
● EITI Multi-stakeholder groups (E-MSG);
● EITI National Coordinators and secretariat staff (E-NS).
● Civil society (SB-C);
● Industry (SB-I).


A longlist of countries for the programme was drawn up based on where both organisations have a historical engagement or relationship. These countries were subsequently mapped against the country criteria listed above – or proxies – using a variety of internal and public sources, and a selection was made to ensure a spread in income group and geography, as well as the criteria mentioned above.

Table 2. Country sample for design research
Income[2] Region[2] EITI Country[3]
Ghana LMIC SSA Yes
Mexico UMIC LAC Yes
Norway HIC E&CA Yes
Philippines LMIC EA&P Yes
Senegal LMIC SSA Yes
Trinidad & Tobago HIC LAC Yes

The research team subsequently mapped potential research respondents against the country selection and beneficiary typologies from existing contact lists. Because of the programme focus on implementer support, the primary beneficiaries were the main targets for interviewing, with the aim of also interviewing secondary beneficiaries where necessary to triangulate responses. The research also targeted international experts with experience in technical assistance in BOT in key informant interviews, as part of the data collection.

Phase 2: Development of research instruments and data collection

The research team developed the research instruments for the interview teams and held two remote data collection training workshops with the interview team, comprising EITI and OO country and programme staff. The team developed an interview guide to aid the interviewers in conducting the semi-structured interviews, as well as a notes template to support data collection and early synthesis by the notes takers.

Data collection took place during June and July 2020 in interview teams comprising an interviewer and a note taker. Interviews were held under the condition of anonymity. The following table provides an overview of the interviews held with the research respondents.

Table 3. Overview of all respondents by beneficiary type
Ghana Mexico Peru Philippines Senegal Trinidad and Tobago Global Total
G-DEC 1 1
G-IMP 1 1 1 1 1 5
G-USE 1 1 2
E-MSG 1 1 2
E-NC 1 1
SB-I 1 1
SB-C 1 1
Subtotal 2 1 1 2 3 4 13
7 7
Total 7 20

Phase 3: Synthesis

Preliminary synthesis was conducted by the interview teams following each interview. Further synthesis was conducted during two remote synthesis workshops.

Figure 1. Digital whiteboard and sticky-notes used in a remote collaborative synthesis workshop, July 2020.

Digital whiteboard and sticky-notes used in a remote collaborative synthesis workshop, July 2020

Because the design research phase was unfunded and took place during the COVID-19 crisis, it was constrained in time and limited in scope. Yet, it provided useful insights for programme design as well as highlighting areas that will require further research, as outlined in the following section. Further validation of findings is planned for when the programme commences.


[1] Design research – a practice originally from the private sector – aims to help develop programmatic interventions. It is applied research, different from policy oriented or academic research, more practically applicable and less rigorous. By combining practices from ethnography, journalism, and systems thinking, it helps those designing programmes understand the causes, relationships, and human dimensions of complex contexts, and then aims to incorporate this knowledge into programme design. The work and guidance developed by Reboot ( helped inform the development of this research.

[2] World Bank, “World Bank list of economies 2019”. Available at: [Accessed 10 June 2020].

[3] EITI, “Countries”. Available at: [Accessed 28 July 2020].

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