Monday, July 23, 2007

Research Begins in Arampur

As we write, we’re sitting in the Nijera Kori office in Pairabond, a large village adjacent to Arampur, the village in which our research will be taking place. For the last two days, we’ve been conducting a follow-up training session with the interviewers, reviewing what we went over a few weeks ago, and expanding on the concepts and specific questions of the research. Having gotten the basics nailed down at our training session in Bogra a few weeks ago, we’re taking a few days before the research begins on Monday for them to do more practice interviews and give them targeted feedback on their technique.

We’re very excited to be back in the field after a few weeks of developing the Partner Network in Dhaka. Northern Bangladesh is incredibly beautiful—the air is fresher, everything is green and lush. The past two days have been intermittently rainy, which keeps the temperature reasonable. There are very few cars around here, most people get around by rickshaw. We’ll be staying in Rangpur, the biggest town in the area, and getting down to Pairabond (about an hour by rickshaw) every day to check in with the interviewers.

This follow-up session has been fantastic. We’ve focused on hands-on experience. Where the last session found us explaining the basics of research and helping them frame their own experiences with microcredit into a broader frame of reference, this session we’ve gotten to have more fun, discussing the nitty-gritty details of interviewing and hearing even more about their thoughts on the research and what they’ve been hearing so far. Their increased self-confidence is evident, and as they are able to focus on interview strategy rather than keeping up with an influx of information their practice interviews are vastly improving.

After these two days of additional training, we’ll move into the data collection phase. Tomorrow, we’ll be sending our interviewers off to begin the first phase of interviews in Arampur, their home community. The first phase of interviews (semi-structured interviews with a set of questions we’ve laid out to cover as much ground as possible) will hopefully be completed in 3 or 4 days. Throughout the first phase, the interviewers will be identifying people they’ve talked to who had a lot of things to say and stories to tell about microcredit and who would be interesting to talk to further. Then we’ll move on to the second phase, which will give the interviewers the opportunity to go back to these people for an unstructured conversation which will further investigate and fully explore their experiences and thoughts on how to improve microcredit.

It’s so exciting to be at this stage of the project where the research is actually going to begin taking place. We’ll be sending all of the interview audio files down to Dhaka by courier service regularly to be translated and transcribed by our team of translators. We can’t wait to see the results! We hope to update frequently in the next few weeks as the research progresses, so keep checking back.

No comments: