Showing posts with label Rouven Rech. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Rouven Rech. Show all posts

Friday, April 10, 2015

Final day of Information Skills Workshop: Internet Research

Rouven & Gudrun, with some participants
To get a complete sense of the need to get information from all angles necessary for a research, Rouven took participants through Internet research today.

Google -- for most researchers -- has become the go-to place. However the engine doesn't have all the answers to questions a researcher has.
Participants were also advised to turn off instant results occasionally so as to get exactly what they were looking for.
This guide shows how one can apply some operators in their queries on Google Search to help them get better results. Additionally, one can also take this self-paced Google Search online course. I highly recommend it. ;-)

Here are some links one can use to augment the information Google has to offer:


The 'perception' that an information found on the Internet must be correct needs to be watched. To test participants, Rouven gave a number of tasks on verifying information found online.
This. Was. Interesting.

Two resources one can consult to check domain ownership are WHOis.net and IANA WHOis Service.
Also read this blog post on how to verify a tweet.

This workshop has been fun, educative, and inspirational. It's my hope that my colleagues at the workshop -- and myself -- will go on to enrich our research careers, by applying all that we learnt.
As for you my fellow reader, I'm sure these posts of mine equip you as well to enrich your research approaches as well.
Thanks.

Related stories:

Day 2 of Information Skills Workshop: Field research

Thursday, April 9, 2015

Day 2 of Information Skills Workshop: Field research

Screenshot of the online survey for my research
Today began with participants of the Information Skills for Research workshop, at the Goethe Institute, undertaking their research (on the field): interviewing respondents, creating/designing questionnaires and online surveys, observing respondents, et cetera.

In the afternoon, participants gathered to discuss their research plan, detailing steps they took in gathering data, insights got from the field research, and the results got from the research.
From the discussions, participants understood some perks of research, while identifying mistakes they made, and how to rectify them next time.

Personally, the field research showed a courage I hadn't tapped -- to go out and interview people, getting to understand them by listening actively, and gaining insights that went to improve my research (because I kept an open mind).

My research was on the user experience (UX) in using ATMs in Ghana. I wanted to understand how users felt about the services their banks' ATMs provided, and whether users expected more services.
I also wanted to understand the sense of security users had in using the ATMs and whether they felt safe while making transactions. 
Moreso, I was bent on learning the ease of use of these ATMs by users.
This research interest has been on my mind for close to a year, but it became more pressing when I helped a Professor of mine to withdraw money from an Ecobank ATM, and was frustrated when the interface didn't show 'Current' as part of the accounts one can withdraw from. It rather had Checking, Savings, and Credit Card. This made me ask if the bank -- and indeed all banks in Ghana, had a manual they gave to first-time ATM users.

An insight I got also from my research while interviewing a staff at the Fidelity bank was the fact that users who didn't bank with the bank could withdraw money using the banks ATM! This is a cardless transaction that makes use of SMS. It's a form of mobile banking.

A detailed report of my research will be shared shortly. I need more inputs, so kindly take this survey if you've not. It will be greatly appreciated.

Related stories:

Who needs a card to use an ATM?




Wednesday, April 8, 2015

How do you tell stories through research?

Some answers got from the task given before the workshop began
The Goethe Institut in Ghana began a 3-day information Skills workshop today.
This is a free workshop targeting individuals that deal with research on a daily basis: .
Rouven Rech, a German documentary film maker, is the main facilitator for the workshop. The head of Library & Information Centre at the institute, Gudrun Widlok, is the coordinator.

To get a sense of research methods being used by participants, they were given a fact-finding task prior to the start of the workshop. These were:
  1. Ask the next seller how much 1 mango or 3 bananas will cost, and find out how the seller calculates the price.
  2. How much is a regular lunch in your area?
  3. How much does your neighbour(s) spend on electricity monthly?

This really set the tone for the workshop as participants discovered 'truths' about research they have been overlooking.

News is what somebody somewhere wants to suppress; all the rest is advertising. - Lord Northcliffe

Being a film maker with a journalism background, Rouven showed a movie, Adopted, that he'd produced with Gudrun. It showed how Ghanaians were opened to adopt lonely Europeans.
Yes, it's real.

Rouven advised participants to be courageous in their research endeavours, while taking note of the fact that research isn't easy. Based on responses to the task given prior to the workshop, Rouven emphasised the need for active listening, and open-mindedness to be important skills for any researcher to have.
An activity that users also undertook was to read the same story in different sources (mostly newspapers), to put to test, their understanding of the 5 Ws and 1 H of research.
He further went on to explain the different kinds of research available, the various impulses/triggers that informs a researcher's facts, and a checklist to consult when on a fact-finding mission.

The day ended with participants choosing topics of interest to them, and tasked to go on fact-finding missions, culminating in research proposals, and recommendations.
The results of their research would be presented and discussed tomorrow.

Did you get the impression I am a participant at this workshop?