4.3 Considering resources for research

There are many different issues to consider when planning your EAR research. One crucial stage of the planning process involves thinking through the different resources that you will need.


When planning your research you should think about how you will collect your data, for example will you be conducting interviews, administering surveys or using mapping tools? No matter what method you use, you need to consider the amount of time each methodology requires. Each method is different and therefore you should consider this when planning how many interviews, surveys or participatory techniques you want to use and consider how much time you have available. When creating your research schedule it is important that you not only think about the time it will take you to collect the data but also remember to think about how long it will take you to document, transcribe, code and analyse your data. When you carry out research in a second language you may also have the task of translating this data. This is an important yet time consuming part of the research process. The process of data collection, analysis and writing up usually takes longer than we first anticipate. Therefore it is very important to be realistic in your planning and to allow plenty of time to carry out each of your research tasks. Careful attention to detail during the research planning stage will ensure you don't put yourself under undue pressure!


EAR research relies on your close ties to and communication with those who work in your ICT initiative and the local communities the initiative seeks to serve. How many people do you have access to that would be happy to help with your research? Developing a strong research culture within your initiative and the communities it serves may mean that you train others to assist you in some of your research tasks. It may mean that people will turn their everyday skills and knowledge into research data for you by keeping field notes or diaries. Or in the course of their daily work they might record and monitor who they deal with and who uses the services at your initiative. A range of people can be engaged in the research including; managers, volunteers, paid staff or interested members of the local community. The more local support that you have the easier it will be for you to conduct your research.


It is important to be realistic in your evaluation of the resources you will need. It is important to think about any cost implications of your research plan. Always ask the question 'how much will it cost?' when planning the different stages of your research. The costs associated with your research may include travel expenses, administrative costs, and the cost of equipment that is necessary for your research. It might also include expenses or wages to pay for research assistants. One way to avoid the anxiety of financial stress in research is to keep it simple. Try to be simple but realistic in terms of the planning and the carrying out of the research. If there is a support organisation involved, be sure to work out what support they can offer at the start of the project and then map the research goals around that. If you are realistic your plan is more likely to be successful. There could be costs involved in such things as travel and this may have a significant impact on whom you can visit and research, where you can conduct your research. If you need to travel to far away or remote communities, you will need to think through the cost of this, and consider the research need.

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