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Global Impact Study at ICTD 2012

Logo courtesy of ICTD 2012, Georgia Tech

 

Many of the Global Impact Study research partners will be attending the upcoming ICTD 2012 conference in Atlanta, Georgia March 12-15, 2012. In addition to TASCHA researchers, representatives from our survey implementation teams in Bangladesh, Brazil, Chile, Ghana, and the Philippines will attend, as will some of the principal investigators of our in-depth studies. Components of the Global Impact Study will be highlighted in two open sessions and one presentation. We hope that any of you attending ICTD 2012 will consider participating in one or more of the sessions and presentation.

Open session: Want open research? Deep dive into data with the Global Impact Study

Technology and Social Change Group, University of Washington Information School

This session will bring together individuals interested in survey data analysis, for an intensive day of exploring user survey data from the Global Impact Study. As a core component of the project we carried out surveys of public access ICT venue operators, users, and non-users in five countries – Bangladesh, Brazil, Chile, Ghana, and the Philippines. The data with accompanying meta-documentation will be made publicly available upon completion of the project.

Session participants will have the opportunity to review and work with the user survey dataset representing approximately 5,000 users. The data cover a wide range of topics including user demographics, usage patterns, and perceived impacts. Opportunities abound for participants to pursue diverse lines of interest.

This session will be facilitated by the project’s management team with support from staff of the University of Washington’s Center for Statistical Consulting.

Open session: Distant fields, common findings? Identifying the challenges and benefits of multi-country qualitative research

Jenna Burrell, UC Berkeley; Janet Kwami, Furman University; Elisa Oreglia, UC Berkeley; Ricardo Ramirez, Independent, Canada; Andy Gordon, University of Washington; Balaji Parthasarathy, IIITB – Bangalore, India

The goal of this workshop is to discuss experiences in multi-country ethnographic/qualitative field work, an area that has been mostly the domain of quantitative studies. We build on the two separate multi-country projects carried out by the organizers, in order to identify what are the advantages and the risks of such research, how to coordinate research questions and hypothesis-making with the need to keep open to discoveries, and what role can this type of research play in the field of ICTD.

The first project is a 3-country (Ghana, Uganda, and China) study employing an ethnographic research to look at the adoption and use of ICT among ‘marginalized populations,’ focusing on market women in Ghana, farmers in rural China, and slum dwellers in Uganda, and comparing their practices and the information processes that exist around their businesses.  The second project combined several qualitative data collection tools, including ethnographies, with country-wide surveys to study ‘infomediaries’ (persons who combine a set of technological resources and coaching to meet users’ information needs and communication capabilities) in Lithuania, Chile, and Bangladesh. It focused on libraries, telecenters, and cybercafés to investigate and generate evidence on the scale, character, and impact of public access to ICT. Part of a larger project entitled Global Impact Study of Public Access to Information & Communication Technology, it investigates the impact of ICT in a number of areas, including communication and leisure, culture and language, education, employment and income, governance, and health.

Presentation: Sharing in public: Working with others in Ghanaian cybercafés

Michael Best, Bence Kollanyi, Sunil Garg, all of Georgia Tech

This paper explores the different ways in which people collaborate and share knowledge in public internet venues, or cybercafés, in Ghana, West Africa. Based on 150 survey interviews conducted in two different cybercafés, one urban and business-oriented and the other peri-urban and family-oriented, the authors find that most cybercafé customers, largely regardless of their demographic, would like to engage in collaborative work in public internet venues and that a large percentage already are. This paper is based on the Collaborative Knowledge Sharing in-depth study of the Global Impact Study.

Contrary to the belief of resource constraints driving shared use, those participants who reported already working together in the cybercafés generally did not cite economic motivations for their collaboration but instead identified enhanced productivity as the main reason. These collaborating respondents also reported performing more instrumental activities in the café and were more likely to have learned critical computing skills there when compared to those who were not already collaborating. Furthermore, they report being more social in their activities at the venue. Finally, the paper notes that collaboration and peer learning is not always planned or made public; voyeuristic forms of knowledge sharing, such as when someone glances at a stranger’s computer screen, are also cited by the survey participants as a learning opportunity in these public venues.

For more information about ICTD 2012, please visit http://ictd2012.org/.

 

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About the author

These are project updates made by members of the Technology & Social Change Group (TASCHA) at the University of Washington Information School. TASCHA is responsible for the implementation for the Global Impact Study.

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