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.

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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.

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Who needs a card to use an ATM?




Who needs a card to use an ATM?

SMS sent to initiator with 2nd part of 8-digit code
Do you really need to have an ATM card before using the machine to withdraw cash?
Is it possible to give a user a mobile money 'feel' that is enabled by an ATM machine?
I was intrigued this morning when I learned of Fidelity Bank's cardless ATM transaction. It's a transaction that enables an individual to transfer money from his or her Fidelity account, so that a non Fidelity Bank customer (recipient) can withdraw the money, using the bank's ATM!
How it works?
The initiator sends a short code to their telco (for now, this works for MTN and Vodafone subscribers). This connects them to their account(s). After choosing the account, they enter the phone number of the recipient, then specifies the amount to be transferred.
A SMS is sent to the recipient with the first part of an 8-digit code, needed for the withdrawal. The 2nd part of the code is sent to the initiator.
This is a security measure. The recipient therefore has to contact the initiator for the second part of the code.
Recipient at the ATM
The welcome screen has an option 'Cardless transaction', that the recipient chooses.
He/She then enters their phone number, followed by the 8-digit code, then the amount that was transferred.
The recipient has to withdraw ALL the amount that has been transferred.
Then viola!
Mobile banking has come to stay, and technologies/innovations such as this are welcome interventions.

I stumbled on this info while researching on ATM usage in Ghana. It was an assignment for the workshop I'm attending.

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How do you tell stories through research?