How to Design Research Project

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Design Research for Media Development A GUIDE FOR PRACTITIONERS By: In Collaboration with:// about this guide // Principles in Practice Harnessing Design Research in FATA This guide features a running case studie to illustrate how design research can apply to media development. All examples are drawn from an investigation conducted in the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) region of Pakistan in September 2012. About FATA Politically, FATA has traditionally Socially, economically, and politically, Yet opportunities for change are But the region remains media dark, been ruled, not governed, by FATA is the least developed region on the horizon. The upcoming 2013 with variable access to mobile unelected tribal leaders. The region in Pakistan. Sixty-six percent of the general election will be the first time networks and Internet and tight is strongly conservative and cultur- population lives below the poverty that political parties are able to form restrictions on journalists. Although 1 ally isolated, constraints that are line; its key industries are farm- and operate in FATA, meaning the there has been an increase in media 2 heightened by geographic and ing, smuggling, and illegal drugs; first chance for FATA communities access and channels in recent years, security factors. United States mili- unemployment is estimated at 60 to have their interests represented little is known about the informa- 3 tary operations using unmanned to 80 percent; and the literacy rate on the national stage. To leverage tion and media behaviors of FATA aerial vehicles (drones) have tar- is 22 percent (and 1.5 percent for this moment, independent and communities. 4 geted the region since 2004, in an females). good quality information about the attempt to defeat Taliban and Al- political process will be vital to its Qaeda militants. Drone strikes have residents. killed up to an estimated 3,400 5 people. 6 Design Research for Media Development 7// ABOUT THIS GUIDE // Principles in Practice HARNESSING DESIGN RESEARCH IN FATA Project Background Project Approach Due to the security restrictions, the elections? Furthermore, what did Given the FATA’s communications It was determined that design Reboot and Internews staff did they think about politics in Pakistan? landscape and its population’s low research—a research and analytical not travel in FATA. Reboot and And finally, how should informa- literacy rates, Internews was inter- process that combines ethnograph- Internews managed field research tion be presented? What sources of ested in the potential of interactive ic, journalistic, and systems think- from Islamabad, and conducted information were perceived as trust- voice response (IVR) technology to ing approaches—could help answer training and synthesis workshops worthy, and how did people evaluate get information about political pro- these complex questions, and help in Islamabad and Peshawar. the credibility of information? cesses to FATA communities, particu- Internews identify opportunities to larly around the upcoming elections. improve the information ecosystem Internews realized a more nuanced But as teams began planning such for FATA communities. The research findings will be understanding of the information an initiative, they realized they need- released in early 2013. and communications landscape in ed answers to a few key questions to A design research investigation the region was necessary to ensure enable strong program design. was conducted over four weeks programs would be appropriate and in September 2012. A team of 10 impactful on the national stage. To To start, it was critical to understand researchers from FATA conducted leverage this moment, independent what were the technology behaviors the fieldwork, with training and man- and good quality information about of FATA communities, and whether agement from Reboot. The study the political process will be vital to IVR was even a realistic option. And covered 7 agencies in FATA and its residents. And, in recent years, beyond the choice of communica- Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) and 125 there has been an increase in media tions channel, what kind of informa- respondents were interviewed. access and channels within the FATA. tion did people want? What did FATA communities already know about 1 Shuja Nawaz and Arnaud De Borchegrave, FATA - A Most Dangerous Place, (Washington, D.C.: Center for Strategic and International Studies, 2009). 2 Shahid J. Burki, “Economics and Extremism,”, n.d. 3 “FATA: Inside Pakistan’s Tribal Regions,” New America Foundation, n.d. 4 Government of Pakistan, United Nations Children’s Fund, and the World Food Programme, Federally Administered Tribal Area (FATA) Multiple Indicator Cluster Survey (Peshawar: Government of Pakistan, 2009) 5 “The Year of the Drone,” Counterterrorism Strategy Initiative, New America Foundation, 2012. 8 Design Research for Media Development 9// INTRODUCING DESIGN RESEARCH Introducing Key Principles of Design Research 1. Understand humans and institutions. Design The best solutions meet the needs of users, while respecting their capacities and constraints, and they do so at the community and institutional levels. Understanding both, therefore, is key. 2. Discard assumptions. Research “Design by ToR (Terms of Reference)” is tough. The best solutions come from the real world, so learn to recognize personal biases and assumptions, as well as those of others, to see the way forward. 3. Remain flexible. It is impossible to predict the solution (or even the best path for finding the solution) at the start of a project. That is why design research is a Good program design requires Change is the norm, so be open-minded and adaptive. valuable and important starting point two things: empathy for people for media development. Design and understanding of place. 4. Consider diverse stakeholders. research is more than an exercise Design research is a valuable A program is only as good as the sum of its parts. Examine in knowledge gathering; it is a pro- the needs and capacities of stakeholders along your program tool to achieve both. active, rigorous, and intellectual delivery chain, such as regulators, media outlets, journalists, process tailored to create concrete and audiences, to ensure the design accommodates each Design research is useful whether programmatic interventions. of them. you are designing an iPhone in Palo Alto or a media development program Blending practices from ethnography, 5. Be responsible. in Pakistan. But for projects like journalism, and systems thinking, Anticipate and mitigate the unintended negative impacts the latter—whose designers often design research helps practitioners a project may have on communities. From selecting come from vastly different back- understand the causes, relationships, respondents to introducing the research, consider how grounds than their users, and where and human dimensions of complex actions and words may impact local dynamics. the context is extremely complex— contexts—and then provides tools developing empathy and under- to incorporating this knowledge into standing requires greater effort and the design of innovative and realistic unique skillsets. interventions. 10 Design Research for Media Development 11// INTRODUCING DESIGN RESEARCH Design research is a process of The process of design is fluid and discovery, not of verification. It is creative, it is constantly refined particularly useful in the early stages and adjusted for different contexts— of a project, where opportunities are design research is similarly versatile. vast and the paths to seize them To that end, while design research Design Research is Not.... are unclear. It is a process to discard is inherently valuable for program assumptions, and a means to design, it can be integrated into Design research is a powerful tool for understanding complex design interventions that are truly fit other approaches already used by human systems and surfacing key factors that are critical for for context. media development professionals. program design. Just as no two contexts are alike, Because, ultimately, while success- there is no one formula for good It is not: ful programs require funding, tech- research and design. A substitute for quantitative research. nology, and management, under- Design research is not intended to yield statistically significant standing of context is paramount. Beyond the field of media develop- findings. Yet it complements quantitative research by surfacing ment, design research has been key insights that are invisible to less nuanced methods. As nec- widely utilized to answer a range of essary, qualitative insights can be probed further for represen- questions relating to governance tativeness through survey work. and international development pro- Integrate gramming. These include: A replacement for stakeholder engagement. design Design research emphasizes deep engagement with communi- research • How can we design a social ties and stakeholders with the aim of eliciting data to inform into M&E. accountability system to program design. It is not intended to replace a program’s maximize citizen engagement stakeholder consultation and sensitization activities. in the design and delivery of basic This guide focuses on the services, and compel government applications of design research A solution for every program. response based on citizen input? in program design and develop- Design research is most useful when the challenge or context ment, but the process is equally is new, complex, or involves diverse stakeholders. Certain • How can we help diverse and often valuable for M&E efforts. types of programs, such as infrastructure development or inaccessible human trafficking policy advocacy, may demand other approaches, with design victims find the means to escape The ability to assess and explain research playing a secondary, or even non-existent, role. their situations? project outcomes in terms of context is essential to learning— • How can the international community particularly when projects fall short. leverage new technologies to support good governance, social cohesion, and economic development in a country that has undergone a popular revolution? 12 Design Research for Media Development 13// INTRODUCING DESIGN RESEARCH The Design Research Process There are five key phases in the design research process. The following chapters will explain each of these in detail, along with practical advice and case studies. PHASE 1 PHASE 2 PHASE 3 PHASE 4 PHASE 5 Define Plan Collect Synthesize Design Articulate a program’s Develop an intellectual Work to understand Make sense of the Distill findings into program ultimate objective, and framework for informa- the people the research, and draw design recommendations define the questions that tion that is needed to program seeks to patterns and insights and guidelines for use by must be answered to help meet the design serve, and the actors from the data. Ensure the implementing team. achieve it. Set clear goals challenge, and an that will be serving that findings are It is also helpful to present to establish boundaries operational plan for them. Dive into the useful and actionable findings in a format for what falls outside how to get that context. for program design. accessible to wider immediate relevance or information. audiences to benefit the current capacity. larger community of practice. Design research can and should has its limitations when examining inform programs spread across be used in conjunction with other complex systems. To design a good areas with geographic variance, or approaches, such as participatory survey, you need to know what you programs that will be expanding to a rural appraisal (PRA), social network are looking for and how that information significant scale. analysis, the Delphi Method, or may manifest in the particular context. audience research surveys. In fact, Qualitative research, on the other Resources, human and financial, practitioners will find similarities, or hand, excels at building rich portraits as well as time will also be factors even shared tools, between some of of a people or place, and at mapping in selecting research approaches. these approaches. the relationships between people, Thankfully, design research scales places, cultures, and institutions. well. It can be effective as a small- In combining research approaches, it But insights surfaced by design scale process as well as a much is a matter of sequencing and scale. research may merit additional deeper expansive investigation. Quantitative research, for example, surveying, especially if they will 14 Design Research for Media Development 15Phase 1 // DEFINE Define the Challenge PHASE 1: These kinds of assumption-based All development projects projects risk failure, no matter how start with a challenge. But too Define many times or where else they often, a project will define that have worked before, because they challenge by presupposing a do not consider how people in a solution. Design research helps specific context actually behave or us start with the right questions. the unique characteristics of the environment. Even if a proposed If, for example, a challenge people solution, such as the SMS information face is poor information or media service, may suit a particular context, access, practitioners might ask: it is impossible to know how to design “How can we support independent a service that is broadly accessible, community radio?” or “How might has locally relevant content, and we develop an SMS-based informa- which can be cost-effectively and tion delivery service?” sustainably maintained. 16 17Phase 1 // DEFINE // Research Framework Research Framework The research framework is a living In practice, priorities tend to shift Framing and defining a design chal- Once a precise and concise design document that defines your research from what was originally put on lenge, therefore, is key for program challenge has been determined, the themes and questions, but its focus paper. All practitioners know about design, and for the design research team should be able to determine will evolve and narrow over time, first the importance of flexibility and that will inform it. Start from the the information it will need to be as feedback is gathered from stake- striking a balance between planning wrong perspective, or with a set of able to tackle the challenge. This is holders, and then even more so over and operations. The research frame- assumptions, and you can spend where design research comes in. A the course of field research. work creates a way to adjust to shift- your whole project working on the strong solution for any context starts ing donor and stakeholder priorities, wrong thing. with a strong understanding of that While not a record of insights or find- while also keeping the on-the-ground context. Inspired by the design chal- ings, it is reflective of an increas- realities in focus. Thus, a good design challenge lenge, we are now ready to build our ingly sophisticated understanding of should: Research Framework. the context, honing in closer to the actual truth as the research unfolds. Speak to a user need. Over time, more targeted and more Do not speak to an organizational detailed questions arise—this is a need, a technological opportunity, or good sign. a donor directive. Be open-ended in terms of how that need might be addressed. It should not predefine a solution. Include the constraints that the design needs to satisfy. These may include meeting certain timelines, collaborating with certain Use the partners, or building upon existing framework Research programming. to align Framework stakeholders. The complete It can help stakeholders Research Framework develop shared understanding of the project goals, processes, from the Internews and expected outcomes. During Pakistan Case Study check-ins, use it to reflect the can be found at: evolving understanding of the org/tools. operational context, and thus program priorities. 18 Design Research for Media Development 19Phase 1 // DEFINE // Research Framework Phase 1 // DEFINE // Research Framework Principles in Practice Key Components of a Research Framework: Project Objectives. Specific goals, both concerning the questions to explore and the projected deliverables based on research findings. Defining the Challenge: A Collaborative Process Key Opportunities and Challenges. From institutional priorities, desk research, and expert consultations. for low-literacy users, like many Guiding Themes and Questions. Coming up with a robust and FATA populations, and the upcoming Also grounded in desk research and expert consultations, realistic design challenge was elections were certainly a factor in these drive the field research. no easy task. Our project had planning timelines. eight people representing four Target Respondents and Sampling Plan. teams from two organizations Outline of different user and stakeholder groups to consult, Ultimately, however, the team and how they will be recruited. spread across four cities (and agreed to keep the prompt as broad that is not including travel). as possible: “Identify opportunities Methodology. This is what we did: to improve information access Summary of the research methods to be used, and relevancy for communities in along with the rationale, role, and specific focus of each. Based on Internews’ existing work the FATA.” While technology and and team members’ experience Operational Plan. new media were of interest, they working in the region, everyone Field logistics, including locations, timelines, research were excluded from the challenge schedule, team composition, and roles. agreed that FATA communities needed definition to not prematurely bias better information channels to get findings. And while Internews had Question Guides and Scripts. information about the world, and to timelines and programming that Concrete plan for the research team to explore key share information about themselves. could be strategically integrated with themes in respondent interviews. But there were differing opinions the project, it wanted to untether as to how this should be done, and the research of institutional priorities what timelines it should be accom- to truly benefit from the generative plished within. nature of design research. The challenge, therefore, was intentionally free of Interactive voice response (IVR) constraints to encourage research technology showed promise as that may contribute to the broader a news and communications tool development community. 20 Design Research for Media Development 21Phase 1 // DEFINE // Research Framework Principles in Practice STEP 1: Map the Issues To understand a challenge, examine it, systematically, from all angles. Write down your design challenge, then write down all the questions you might have to answer to be able to tackle the challenge. Then, group the questions to determine key themes that will drive the research. Determining Key Themes For information- and media-related research, practitioners may want to consider: Trends over time. Contours of trust and influence. To the extent that trust and We began by defining ‘information In addition to current attitudes and The work in Pakistan aimed to influence are relative, dynamic behaviors, examine longitudinal usage’ and realized we were interested understand the behaviors concepts, explore the drivers and patterns—how have cultural, political, in the following question: of FATA communities relating boundaries of trust. This should and technological changes impacted to information usage—a tall be done within communities, as user behavior over time? Such a How are FATA populations access- well as between communities and order, to be sure. focus can help anticipate future ing, sharing, evaluating, and creating shifts, and allow program designs a) institutions, Through a mapping exercise, information, and how might their that accommodate them. b) diverse information sources, habits change over the next two we determined the key themes and years? Given the pace of technological that the study would focus on. c) the media. change, practitioners must under- To the extent that effective stand the forces driving change, not Beyond current habits, we wanted only how that change is manifest interventions always, at some to understand the needs, capacities, today. level, rely on trust, understanding constraints, and sensitivities that the nature of trust in a particular influence the information-seeking Multiplicity of media. context is paramount. and media consumption behaviors People’s usage of and relationship of FATA communities. to media is complex and diverse, and research should examine Through a mapping exercise, we diverse information sources (formal and informal), as well determined three key themes that as the complex, ever-changing would drive the research, presented relationships people have to them. here as an excerpt from the Research Framework of the Internews Paki- stan Case Study. 22 Design Research for Media Development 23Phase 1 // DEFINE // Research Framework DEFINING KEY Principles in Practice THEMES Theme 2: Theme 1: Impacts of Displacement Understanding Trust & Influence What has been the impact of con- how FATA populations access, evalu- How do FATA communities evaluate not specifically oriented towards flict and internal displacement on ate, and trust different information the credibility and trustworthiness disseminating information but that the information-seeking and media sources and media channels. To the of different information sources may do so as a secondary activity behaviors of FATA communities? extent possible, the research will and media channels, and how do or naturally as a result their role in map how these attitudes and behav- these factors impact the influence communities (e.g. service providers Since 2007, FATA has experienced iors change over people’s timeline of and reach of different source and such as schools or clinics where significant population migration as displacement. channels? people gather, or entrepreneurs that a result of government operations wield economic influence). There against non-state armed actors and Both formal (e.g. newspapers) and will be a specific focus on emerging sectarian violence. The research informal (e.g. community leaders) sources of information. seeks to understand how migration sources of information will be and displacement has impacted considered, as well as sources Key questions include: Key questions include: • What are the social norms around gathering, sharing, • How do displaced FATA populations access information? and assessing different types of information? How does this compare to communities that still reside within the FATA? • What are the metrics FATA communities use to determine • How does the experience of migration and displacement, whether a particular piece of news or information—or a source— both conflict-related and seasonal or work-related, impact how FATA is credible, trustworthy, or worth passing on to their networks? populations evaluate the credibility and importance of different media sources? • Specifically, what are the uses and perceptions of secular versus religious information sources? • How does information pass to and from FATA residents and connections outside? • Based on the above metrics, along with reported and observed user experiences, can we map the relative influence and reach of different types of information sources among FATA communities, how information flows between them, and how these patterns have changed over time? 24 24 Design Research for Media Development 25Phase 1 // DEFINE // Research Framework DEFINING KEY THEMES STEP 2: Review Existing Research Theme 3: Desktop research is a critical early As part of the literature review, Usage of New Media & Technology input to the design research process. include work in the specific geo- Literature reviews, expert consulta- graphic context as well as the sector As technology is vastly changing Beyond analyzing indicators such tions, and discussions with institutional (and review both case studies and the communications landscape in as technology penetration (e.g. partners ground the potential future evaluations). Pakistan, and will continue to do so, radio, television, or mobile), size of in the wisdom of what has been the research will have a particular audiences for particular programs, done before. In consultations, seek out three focus on perceptions of and behaviors dollars invested in specific channels, different types of experts: around new media and digital com- or other market metrics, the study Desk research sets the stage for 1) Operational experts, munications tools. will examine the human factors that design. With such an expansive 2) subject matter experts, and impact technology behaviors and body of innovation and achievement Given the potential of information choices. in the field of development, any work 3) institutional experts. and communications technologies should build on what has been done. (ICTs) to enable easier and broader access to information, the study will seek to understand specific technologies that have high potential to reach FATA communities, as well as challenges around and limitations Operational experts have worked extensively in a of ICTs. geographic context. Their insight will be especially key in planning the logistics of a research trip and developing a risk management plan. Key questions include: Subject Matter experts have implemented or evaluated • What are current behaviors around the use of technology to access, share, similar or complementary programs, and can share their create, and evaluate information? Can we extrapolate larger trends around opinions and understanding about how and why their technology usage beyond specific channels and media sources? research and program approaches succeeded (or fell short). • How does literacy, in all its forms — textual, technological, and media — Institutional experts from organizations, donors, or other impact usage of technology among FATA populations? What are ways stakeholders can help focus goals and deliverables. They can in which FATA communities currently circumvent their own capacity help understand what outputs are most useful and feasible, constraints around technology to get and share the information they need? and how best to present them. • What are the threats to the use of technology, and how do FATA populations respond? Does the cultural appropriateness of technology vary with its intended purpose (e.g. mobile phones for communications versus mobile phones for listening to music or the news)? 26 Design Research for Media Development 27Phase 1 // DEFINE // Research Framework Principles in Practice Consulting Experts Before fieldwork, the team consulted with experts on key project Role Category Affiliation Profile themes and to gain better understanding of the operational context. After fieldwork, experts helped interpret, analyze, and validate Subject Academic University DC-based Pakistan expert research findings. This is redacted sample of those consulted. Matter Researcher with on-the-ground perspective, with focus on political stability and Islamic politics. Advise on research framing questions, and institutional interests. Category Role Affiliation Profile Subject Co-Founders Local ICT4D Islamabad-based technology Operational M&E Donor Well versed in operating M&E Matter Firm and civic participation firm that Officer Organization programs in FATA, familiar has deployed mobile-based with Internews. Advise on information services across operational and risk planning Pakistan. Advise on technology and management. behaviors and service design. Operational Chief of International Extensive on-the-ground experi- Subject M&E International Worked with Internews on research Party Development ence in FATA, and with media- Matter Program Development and M&E in several countries. Contractor related programming. Advise on Advisor Contractor Advised on complementary and operations, logistics, and security. adjacent research initiatives to draw from and feed into. Operational/ CEO Local Works on audience research with Subject Research Internews in Pakistan. Extensive Institutional Senior Donor Deep understanding of media Matter Organization experience media behavior in the Leadership Organization landscape in FATA, has managed region. Advise on gaps in current Internews programming. Advised research. on donor priorities and interests in the region and for the research. Operational/ Various Staff Local Experts in freedom of information Subject Civil Society and expression issues in Pakistan, Institutional Various Across Advised on Internews’ needs and Matter Organization and the cultural and political fac- Internews Operational goals around research, perceived tors that influence the conversation. Staff and Country opportunities and gaps in current Advise on research questions, and Teams research, program development, the role of technology in shaping and M&E processes to help refine the information landscape. outputs. Subject Journalist Various news Pakistani journalist with extensive Matter outlets experience covering FATA and Given the aims of the research, local or locally based experts international news. Advised on were prioritized over international ones. Institutional and international research framing, questions, perspectives still very much informed the research to ensure it would and managing sensitivities. be useful to a range of stakeholders. 28 Design Research for Media Development 29Phase 1 // DEFINE // Research Framework Their values and needs will impact This list becomes your respondent STEP 3: program outcomes, thus their per- group, and each group’s needs and Identify the Stakeholders spectives must be understood and challenges will need to be addressed. accommodated, as appropriate, in While the map to it is not yet clear, Media development seeks to improve human livelihoods through information. the program design. the places where these many view- So, it is logical that humans are at the heart of good program design. They points and needs intersect is where both inform and inspire program designs, and their needs are the metrics by List all the stakeholders who the the most sustainable interventions which programs should be evaluated. program must consider. Starting will be found. And be realistic: There with the end-users, list all those who will be actors your program will not Yet there are many actors that impact the design, delivery, influence their behavior, as relevant have access to or influence over. and ultimate effectiveness of a program. to the program: What people and Still include them as variables to be institutions do they interact with? aware of, and to recognize the gaps These may include: Which other stakeholders have the in your own data. End-Users Community Leaders greatest impact on their actions? Do Target individuals and communities Individuals with both formal and this for all the stakeholders identified. Do not get intimidated. This process (often called “beneficiaries”) the informal distinctions as leaders can be overwhelming. Any map of activities and outputs of the within their community and that Think through the perspective of the conflicting interests of dozens program are intended to benefit. have particular influence. each listed stakeholder: How do of people and institutions will look Contextual Influencers Service Providers they impact the experience of the unsystematic and unsustainable. Individuals or organizations that Individuals and organizations that end-users? What are their priori- Getting through the mess is what have impact or control over the serve as functional touchpoints for ties and goals? How do they view the research is for. environment or the individuals reaching end-users—not all may be the other stakeholders on the list? in which a program is targeting formally recognized as information How can they contribute to program sources or service providers. These Policymakers objectives? may include radio stations, primary Creators of the environments in schools, or agricultural extension which a program exists through workers. legislation, rhetoric, or other forms of power. Administrators Functional managers that oversee Predict users’ Institutional Partners the actions of service providers. needs, not Know who to Institutional donors, private sector partners, or other organizations solutions. include when. that define, resource, and influence program design. Think broadly and fundamentally Naturally, stakeholders include about users’ needs. For example, funders, partners, colleagues, users may not need “a radio and others who are contributing station” or “better information”; to or otherwise directing the rather, they may need security, work. Include their perspectives stability, or connection with when planning the research, loved ones, all of which can be but once fieldwork begins, addressed in multiple ways. your allegiance is to end-users. 30 Design Research for Media Development 31Phase 1 // DEFINE // Research Framework Principles in Practice A Note on Sample Size In the age of “Big Data”, it is hard to resist the idea that survey data, and lots of it, is better. It is true that quantitative data is a valuable tool for many aspects of program design: Large datasets can help identify sweeping trends across a community, or determine how human well-being has changed in a region over time. The strength of such analysis comes in part, however, by Defining Target Respondents reducing nuance. To complement data analysis, design research is intrinsically about understanding complexity through Pakistan has a vigorous and diverse media ecosystem, and human nuance. This means aiming for a focused and below are the stakeholder groups that our research targeted, manageable sample size. The goal is not statistical representation; there is no need to touch every potential as well as the target percentage of the overall respondent type of stakeholder relevant to the program. Rather, the population for each group, based on our mapping exercise. goal is enough representativeness to draw meaningful insights on patterns of behavior and context. Early on, we agreed that the focus Further, researching information The most valuable insights often come from making would, first and foremost, be on distributors (5%) and regula- surprising thematic connections between seemingly information consumers (60%): FATA tors (5%) would help Internews disparate behaviors and cultural norms. These can only communities who seek information identify the opportunities and be generated by human evaluation of collected data. through diverse outlets. Under- challenges for information dis- Further, as the best analysts and program designers are standing their behaviors and atti- semination. Finally, media-related usually those that conducted the field research, their tudes—and their underlying ratio- organizations (5%) including NGOs, facility with the entire data set is important. As powerful nale—and capacities would allow watchdog groups, and others will as large data sets can be when run through NVivo or Atlas Internews to develop content and help guide the research process, TI, human creativity is also a powerful tool—and for it to programs that will reach and be both in data collection as well as work well, the capacities of human memory should be understood by these populations. analysis. On the following pages is considered when determining sample size. Understanding a broad range a condensed version of the study’s of information producers (25%), stakeholder analyses: both formal and informal, and the motivations, capacities, and self- conceptions of each actor would be critical to mapping information flows and networks of influence and trust among FATA communities. 32 Design Research for Media Development 33Phase 1 // DEFINE // Research Framework DEFINING TARGET Principles in Practice RESPONDENTS 60% 25% Information Consumers Information Producers Key Questions Examples of Entities Examples of Entities Key Questions • FATA populations in and outside of • How do they access, share, and • Journalists: local and foreign • What are their goals in participating FATA, a diverse sample in terms of assign value to different types in the information landscape, and • Bloggers gender, age, economic background, of information? in producing information? education, location (both rural and • Traditional leadership • What is the role of information/news • How does each actor see its role, urban) in the context of life in FATA? (Does • Informal community leaders and how does it compare to other • Particular attention will be paid to it play role in creating change? How actors in the ecosystem? • Civil society and/or special interest FATA populations perceive informa- a) influencers, as their habits and groups (e.g. youth organizations, • What sort of training have they had tion/media? What types of informa- choices have outsize impact on NGOs, fundamentalist groups) to produce information, and what are tion do they want to access?) their larger communities the standards they hold themselves • Religious media outlets (e.g. mullah • What is their access to and usage of to? b) youth, as their behaviors can radio) and leaders (e.g. imams) technology? suggest trends in information • What is their sense of the security • Government officials consumption and technology • How do they evaluate the credibility issues involved in their work? (e.g. Political Agents) habits and trustworthiness of information How do they mitigate security risks? • Government and state-controlled sources? c) low-literacy populations, as ICTs • What other information sources media outlets (Pakistani and foreign) have the potential to uniquely • For influencers: What is the do they draw upon and use? • University journalism departments serve them relationship between these individu- • What do they see as the biggest als and those they influence? How • Press clubs constraints, for themselves and do they gain and use their influence? their listeners/viewers? • Political parties and activists Note: It may be difficult to access How does information and com- female populations. Little is known • How do they evaluate their success munication impact or facilitate their • Businesses and/or entrepreneurs about this demographic in the as information producers? influence? region, much less specific media • For youth: What are the tools they • For businesses: How do they and technology behaviors. = May not be possible approach marketing in FATA, and use to access and share information? is it any different from how they • For low-literacy populations: advertise in the rest of the country? What are the ways in which they are accessing information, despite their lack of literacy? 34 Design Research for Media Development 35Phase 1 // DEFINE // Research Framework DEFINING TARGET Principles in Practice RESPONDENTS 5% 5% 5% Information Information Media-Related Distributors Regulators/Controllers Organizations Examples of Entities Examples of Entities Examples of Entities • Media groups • Government agencies • NGOs and civil society groups (e.g. Jang, Dawn, Lakson) (e.g. FATA Secretariat, Pakistan (e.g. Rural Media Network Pakistan, Pakistan Centre for Development Broadcasting Corporation, Pakistan • Local media outlets Communication) Electronic Media Regulatory Authority) • International media outlets • Journalist unions • Traditional leadership and tribal • Television broadcasters elders • Crowdsourced content sites (e.g. Hosh Media) • Aggregated content sites (e.g. Teabreak) Key Questions Key Questions Key Questions • How do they determine the • What are their key goals and • What do they think are the key For this study, it was determined content that they will include in concerns regarding to the production opportunities and challenges in that perspectives of information their outlet? How do they prioritize and dissemination of information? securing greater information distributors, media-related different pieces of content, and access and better quality of organizations, and information • How do they determine what types choose what to feature? information for FATA communities? regulators/controllers would of information can or cannot be largely be drawn from existing • Do they track responses to the shared, and how they will be shared? • What are their thoughts on our research and expert consultations. content they put out? If so, what research framing and plan, as well Field research would largely target tends to be more/less popular? as our findings/analyses? information consumers Do they have ideas as to why? and producers. 36 Design Research for Media Development 37Phase 1 // DEFINE // Research Methods Research Methods Many instruments are available to Naturally, practitioners must choose help researchers for getting a holistic instruments based on what is fea- view of a target community. sible in the environment. Consider The Value of Variety culture as well as security, timelines, Group interviews provide a broad and other challenges. Any research program worth its salt will use several but basic understanding of key different instruments. Multiple methods can help research themes, and surface Over time, the methods used may researchers triangulate data surfaced by different tools threads that require further probing. change, either to focus on an and address the inherent deficiencies within each tool, emerging theme or to overcome helping overcome research bias. Individual, in-context depth challenges (of bias, logistics, or interviews allow a deeper under- other) that crop up in the field. Often, Everyone carries biases, and different instruments surface standing of people’s frustrations, a discovery in the course of research different biases in both researchers and respondents. For vhopes, and day-to-day lives, especial- makes one or more instruments example, due to natural social dynamics, respondents ly when used over time. obsolete; for example, a service in a group interview may be eager to appear more pious, trial of a government information more hard-working, or otherwise impress each other with During a home stay, as the guest line is impossible if the phone line their answers; individual follow-up interviews may elicit of a respondent, researchers gain has been shut down for the past six more self-reflective answers. Similarly, during an in-depth greater empathy and insights into months. Governments and devel- interview, a respondent may be embarrassed to admit how people think and operate, as opment organizations do not always challenges they have experienced in using a service, for social barriers are broken down have updated information on the fear of appearing incompetent, but a service trial or an through sustained engagement. service availability, especially for observation of that same person using the service can rural areas, so plan accordingly and raise these frustrations loudly and clearly. Service trials yield first-hand expe - remain flexible. rience of how programs and services Using several instruments helps correlate findings, check work—and thus insights about the biases, and better understand the subtext of people’s relationship between institutions answers. and people—which is critical for effective program design. Keep it interesting. The common thread to all of these instruments is immersion. Design Always question whether a research tools open structured space research tool is the right tool for where researchers can discuss, the situation, and whether the observe, test, experience, and mix keeps things engaging for understand the mechanics and the team. Research should be stimulating, and using a range emotions of daily life in the way that of tools help unlock creativity, respondents do. which is critical for program design. 38 Design Research for Media Development 39Phase 1 // DEFINE // Research Methods Research Tools GROUP INDIVIDUAL INTERVIEWS DEPTH INTERVIEWS Facilitated discussions with a Semi-structured conversations that group of respondents. Respondents probe into an individual’s attitudes may be grouped for any number of and thought processes. Best when reasons: Similar demographics or conducted in private and in a setting profiles, or diverse viewpoints. that respondent is comfortable with, such as their home or workplace. Used To: Challenges: Used To: Challenges: • Gain a broad understanding of • Group environments will impact • Gain a deep and nuanced under- • Getting rich data is time consuming. a new issue area and uncover respondents’ responses. The desire standing of how a person thinks and The team may have to visit a respon- behaves. dent several times to establish the key themes to probe further. to appear in a certain light amongst ones peers can influence answers. trust required for them to speak • Understand the dynamics within • Learn about the environments in openly and honestly. which respondents live, work, and play. a community, quickly profile • Certain individuals may dominate, • People may not want to reveal their several individuals, and identify and if they have some kind of • Develop relationships with potential respondents to follow up with at formal or informal status within true feelings or may simply misreport target users, with whom the team can greater depth. the community, their presence may details for any number of reasons. return to help design, prototype, and prevent others from speaking their Thus, it is important to validate • Establish shared research test solutions. findings across several respondents. minds. experiences and common reference points among the team. Requires: • A private setting to minimize the Requires: influence of other people. • A facilitator who is socially Be Keep it • A significant amount of time, perceptive, firm, able to synthesize inclusive. small. at least one hour. quickly, and has the ability to spark • A skilled interviewer that has deep and sustain discussion. For individual interviews, The value of group interviews di- familiarity with the research there should be ideally one or minishes if there are more than 10 topics, and ideally an accompanying respondents. But when entering a two, and certainly no more than note-taker/photographer. new context, group interviews that three researchers, present. are open to all signals interest in Any larger a group and it can all perspectives, and helps diffuse become intimidating for the tension when specific individuals are chosen for interviews. respondent. 40 Design Research for Media Development 41Phase 1 // DEFINE // Research Methods OBSERVATION HOME STAYS Observing the activities in a Extended (and usually overnight) particular context, or the actions stays in the homes of your target of an individual or group of users, where interview and individuals, to gain insight into observation methods integrate the subtle forces that shape a with natural social interaction. place or a people. Used To: Challenges: Used To: Challenges: • Gain personal, experiential under- • Time constraints often do not allow for • Deepen understanding of a target • Homestays can raise expectations standing of a context, community, long-term observation—only when the user group by observing the finer among respondents—after living for or individual helps build an intuition researcher starts getting bored do they details and nuances of their lives. several days (or even a single night) about that context; this then enables start noticing the minute contextual People tend to discard with pretenses with someone, the line between you to make better design decisions insights that are most revealing. and act more naturally the longer a researcher and respondent can blur. for that context. Yet project timelines rarely afford the guest spends with them. It is critical to address expectations space for a team member to ‘grow upfront, before the interaction begins. • Identify otherwise unarticulated needs • Achieve a more holistic understanding bored’. Thus, researchers must be and actions that may be subconscious of community dynamics. By living in a • There may be personal risks to the constant, vigilant observers that are to respondents themselves; what community for several days, 24 hours researcher: Depending on the con- attuned to, and documenting, the ebbs people think they do is often different a day, greater exposure to diverse texts, there may be health concerns and flows of the environment. from what they actually do. rituals and opportunities for engage- (e.g. hygiene, food preparation) and ment will present themselves. security challenges, so heed the advice of the local team. Requires: Requires: • Patience. Observation takes a long time. It is impossible to visit a hospital • A high degree of sensitivity to how Try for an hour and understand all that your presence may impact your hosts. shadowing. happens in that environment, and why. The presence of a guest can be a financial and even emotional burden, • Confidence. Observation requires in low-income communities. Thus, Shadowing is much like Observa- researchers to trust their own instincts, be sensitive to your hosts’ cues, and and to believe their own insights have tion—it requires immersion and the compensate for any inconvenience value. Such confidence grows with focused study of people. Unlike you pose (e.g. bringing food as a gift) Observation, Shadowing asks users experience. or understanding when to abandon to be active participants in the (e.g. if it seems that it is straining the research process by “thinking out family’s resources and energy). loud”; that is, by articulating their thoughts as they conduct actions. While an imperfect window into the human mind, it yields oft hard-to- get insights into factors that direct or influence behavior. 42 Design Research for Media Development 43

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