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Research Methodologies: Using the communication platform


Research Methodologies: Using the communication platform

Saturday, Feb 14
General Task
9 years 10 weeks ago

To: Participants - Research Methodologies - London - March 16th, 2015 From: Warren Feek

Hi - very much look forward to working with you at the Research Methodologies day in London on March 16th, 2015. Many thanks for participating in person or virtually. This is just a quick introduction to the communication platform for this event. All pre- during- and post-event communications will flow through this platform which is part of the overall The CI communication and media for development network with 89,000 registered participants.

  1. Most people participating have now submitted their introductory profiles. We are chasing the ones who have not!.
  2. Click the person icon here to open the participants list and profiles.
  3. Click on a participant's username or image to learn more about the people with whom you will share this event.
  4. All communications are received/sent by email as well as being accessible for review and comment on the platform.
  5. When you receive an email message simply reply as you would to any email if you have comments, questions or suggestions.
  6. When you are logged in on the platform you can submit comments online.
  7. For example if you have comments, questions re the draft agenda here simply complete the "Post New Comment" block and Send.
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Thanks. We will soon be adding to this platform - for example sections for each of the main presentations - see Agenda.

Hopefully this brief intro supports you enhancing the value you will gain from this event for your important work. If you have any comments or questions please just reply by email or make sure you are logged in and complete the "comment" block and send.

Very much look forward to working with you.

Best wishes - Warren


Seb - Nigeria research Interviewers

Can you share more on how interviewers are selected and trained....also who does or will do advocacy with authorities once findings are in...

Franklin Apfel


Please share your two comments or questions in advance of the meeting

The Agenda for the meeting

Methodology One Background - Seb Taylor

Methodology Two Background - Sue Goldstein

Methodology Three Background - Roy Head and Simon Cousens

Using the online platform


Interviewers and Advocacy

Seb Taylor responds below to Franklin Apfel's questions on interviewers and advocacy

Hi Franklin - thanks for these questions.

On recruitment and training of interviewers, we worked with a local counterpart research organisation (Public Health Services and Solutions, PHSS) who are based in Abuja and in several northern states, and have worked with a variety of agencies (Nigerian Govt and donors for example) on polio eradication and other health systems research and analysis. PHSS maintains a cadre of known interviewers who live in the northern states - so recruitment of interviewers was done to ensure that survey teams were from the states to which they were deployed. We recruited male and female team members (survey teams comprised male/female pairs). There was a centrally-run 2-day training process - the first day was desk-based, running through the research purpose, design and survey instrument structure (as well as enabling input on e.g. Hausa translation of questions); the second day was field-based use of the survey instrument. I'll talk a little bit about this in the presentation.

On the second question (an extremely important one) - we engaged quite early on with the federal government through the National Primary Health Care Development Agency (NPHCDA) and the Emergency Operations Centre (EOC), with significant support from USAID (who financed the research) and from the other partner agencies (primarily WHO and Unicef but including a range of other important international and domestic partners to the Nigerian Polio Eradication Programme). We were lucky enough to present the research idea and proposed process to the Executive Director of NPHCDA (Dr Ado Muhammed), who assigned his advisor, Professor Okey Akpala to be point person for the research (and who has been a tremendous support and guide throughout). We maintained contact with NPHCDA and partners in development and implementation, and had a chance to feed back preliminary research outcomes in December last year. We got both critical review of our approach (a key issue, for example, was that we should disaggregate findings by state for the three states where we conducted the research, in order that findings as they emerge would be more amenable to adoption within state-level programme strategies). But we also got strong buy-in from NPHCDA on some of the key emerging insights that we think the research offers up. As we continue the analysis phase, we continue to feed results through to USAID and my hope is that we will have further opportunities to present findings for incorporation in programme strategy for 2015-16 and beyond into (we hope) certification for Nigeria to become polio-free.

A key issue looking forward (from our perspective) is to get advocacy on findings and their relevance to strategy down to state and sub-state levels of the government and programme partners. Again, here, USAID has been very supportive for example in starting to think about how we might use key insights to create specific additional interventions in areas where we have identified higher risk of polio vaccine refusal, to test whether those interventions offer an additional level of impact.

I hope that helps, but do let me know if you've further questions.



Interviewers and Advocacy

Franklin Apfel with a further contribution on the Interviewers and advocacy thread

Dear Seb

Thank you for response. This sounds like a very sound ( and convenient) approach to interviewer selection and training. Too often reports on evidence gathering initiatives leave out descriptive material on this critical point. We see references to interviews, trainings, workshops etc and get no insights into the quality of the collectors - which of course is key to the reliability and reproducibility of any study. This is an area we might usefully discuss on Monday. Is there a rating system that can be used to get a quick sense of the competency of the "collectors"? Does the agency you used have standards that their interviewers must adhere there continuing education for interviews to keep them current on latest thinking in interview techniques, etc ? How are others dealing and reporting on this? As to the advocacy strategy, again great stuff.

This also points to an issue we have been focussed on; namely, how to use research projects as platforms for building advocacy and or dissemination networks. Our recent experience is in 7 European countries where we have been facilitating national adaptation/translation processes related to an ECDC supported vaccine communication guide for HCPs( Getting key stakeholders involved in the cultural/contextual adaptation process of the guide( expert review, comprehensibility testing with end-users, etc) has helped build an "advocacy" network for its dissemination. Here by getting agency and ministry folks involved early advocacy is foreshadowed and ignited. Such active advocacy approaches have been criticised as introducing subjectivity, opportunism, bias into studies and contaminating findings. How do we answer such criticisms?

Looking forward to discussions next week

Franklin Apfel

Social research in areas/populations with complex security issue

Polio virus circulation is now primarily reduced to areas with complex security and access issues. Gathering information, particularly social data, from these areas, come with increased risks and complications both for those conducting the research and those participating in it.

I would like to ask the panelists generally whether there are methodologies that are proven to be more reliable/safe when conducting research in areas with access or security issues - where a lack of trust and heightened fear among the population are important variables?

And to Seb specifically - you conducted your research in three states of Northern Nigeria, Kano in particular has suffered significant violence at the hands of Boko Haram. Was this taken into consideration when preparing for the study? Do you think the exposure to this violence could influence findings in any way? Were there any lessons learnt you could share?

I think this question is becoming more important to researches as health programming is more and more geared towards equity and being able to deliver services in areas with these challenges.

Thanks in advance for considering the questions and I look forward to Monday’s discussions.

Warm regards,

Tom Moran

Security and Access

Sebastian Taylor with a contribution in response to the observations on security and access from Tom Moran

Thanks Tom.

You're right, of course, data-gathering in a context like northern Nigeria right now (and indeed for quite a while one way and the other) is relatively heavily constrained. Our selection of states and our mobility within these states was quite strongly shaped by consultation on security with government counterparts and partners. Yobe and Borno were out entirely. Bauchi presented some challenges. Kano and Sokoto were somewhat more straightforward interestingly enough (although BH has been making violent incursions into Kano, they don't seem to have been able to establish as strong a foothold here as in the north-east). We had quite strong support from state-level EOCs and sub-state (e.g. LGA and Ward focal points). And we were quite careful both to ensure that survey teams were experienced in negotiation for settlement-level access, and to maintain a live monitoring function on their movements as they went into and out of their assigned areas.

One thing this means from the outset is that our research won't reflect local social context of polio vaccination (or OPV refusal) in the most heavily security-compromised areas. This we discussed with colleagues in a preliminary process meeting in Abuja in December last year. In a way, what we are doing is looking at areas that might be characterised as the programme's vulnerable flanks. We see quite a lot of concentration on getting vaccine into the north-east, but we need to keep an eye on a broader picture of vaccine delivery - and to keep looking at variance in the demand-side, in areas contextualising the area where access is, genuinely, blocked. On the whole, we are seeing special measures-type approaches to access and insecurity by the programme in Borno and Yobe (as you'll already know). We've seen similar strategies, though at a more severe scale of absolute inaccessibility, in KP/FATA, Pakistan, in particular the Waziristans and surrounding areas. Opportunistic vaccinator team incursion, the deployment of 'permanent polio teams' (as in southern Afghanistan), encircling and transit vaccination and tactical deployment of IPV alongside OPV are some of the things that constitute a response to insecurity.

And you're absolutely right - if we want to see greater attention to equity and coverage for wider health services (starting with routine immunisation but extending outwards from that), mass vaccination programmes like polio can be constituted as a tremendous type of 'pathfinder' both for ways of doing this, but also for some of the major challenges. Political, social, cultural or ideological resistance to mass programmes by population sub-groups and in areas engaged in contest for legitimacy with the state are, I think it is likely, going to be a larger rather than smaller element of future global immunisation endeavours. That's why I think we need to research as well as possible the underlying spectrum of social attitudes to governance, health and vaccines in these critical spaces.

Look forward to discussions next week.



Research Methodologies
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