(Click on the project for more information)
African American Sexual and Reproductive Health Project
Latino Sexual and Reproductive Health Project
Bangladesh Sexual and Reproductive Health Project
Haitian Children and Youth Rights Project
Haitian Environment-Agricultural Education Project
Ugandan Sexual and Reproductive Health and Gender-based Violence Project
15 Steps to Integrating Ethnographic Research with Education and Evaluation
Identification of Population:
Not all people are equally vulnerable to a problem. If the problem is women's vulnerabilities to HIV/AIDS, then I look for people that truly reflect these vulnerabilities. If the problem is environmental degradation and its economic consequences to farmers, then I look for a population that has experienced these problems.
Ethnographic Research Questions:
Research questions must do two things: they must be focused on generating personal accounts and interpretations of experiences associated with the problem. They must be open-ended and broad enough to allow for emotional and personal expressions of experience in the respondent's own words.
Selection and Training Researchers:
Researchers must be very good communicators. The training emphasizes ways of interviewing to gain the trust and confidence of the respondent, listening and probing skills and being able to “think on one's feet” or being able to respond to those things that the respondent says that are outside the expected.
Approximately 100 people are interviewed for each project. The interviews take between 11/2 to 2 hours to complete. Interviews are private, individual, voluntary and confidential. In most instances the interviewer takes notes or has a note-taker but in some cases, he or she has used a tape-recorder.
Interviews are read and reread for common themes or patterns in respondents' experiences and language. Analysis of language provides ‘key’ expressions related to people’s risk experiences and problems. The content of the interviews is highlighted for repetitive responses and interpretations.
Writing Narratives with Text:
The narratives or stories and text evolve out of the data analysis. Narratives or stories reflect people’s public and private experiences. In the stories, reality is mirrored in the third person narrative description and first person dialogue of characters. Story dialogue is further edited by native speakers so that it reflects actual dialogue between characters.
Creating Educational Text:
The educational text offers the facilitator ‘key’ discussion questions throughout the stories and role play suggestions at the end to engage project participants in reflecting on, discussing and acting out ‘key’ conflicts in the stories. Biomedical or other informational text is added where appropriate to provide participants with ‘authoritative’ information.
Creating Images for the Materials:
Artists create representational images all significant scenes and interactions between characters in the story. The colorful visual images reflect how people actually look and their ‘real’ surroundings. The visual images are reflective of the dialogue, narrative description and personality of characters in each story.
Setting up and Printing the Materials:
The front of each page in each story shows panels of pictures in color with the dialogue of story characters. The back contains the pictures in black and white, the narrative description, dialogue and educational instructions for facilitators. The participants see the front and the facilitator reads the back.
Designing an Evaluation Strategy:
The evaluation strategy is often a mixed quantitative and qualitative one. Qualitative interviews and a pre- post- survey are conducted. These look for whether participant’s understanding and beliefs about ‘key’ issues and their communication with partners, children, friends and/or family had changed because of their participation in the program.
Identifying Appropriate Sites:
Projects have been integrated into ongoing drug and treatment centers, micro-finance and literacy programs and rural development programs. Identifying the most appropriate site for these programs is critical to their acceptance and potential for sustainability.
Recruiting and Selecting Facilitators:
At each site or with each organization, we look for people who have the potential to be group facilitators or are already experienced in facilitating groups. We select facilitators who have some base knowledge of ‘key’ issues in the program and are either from the ‘target’ community or have worked intimately with them.
Facilitators participate in a five day workshop where they read through each story, ask questions, discuss the stories and participate in role plays as though they were participants. Facilitators then practice leading sessions using the materials. Facilitators are evaluated by peers and training staff during the workshop.
Implementing the program:
Typically the program lasts 24 hours or approximately eight weeks depending on the length of each session and frequency per week that participants meet. Since size of the group is conducive to personal interactions, it is suggested groups be limited to 15 members. Every person who completes the program is given a certificate of completion.
Evaluating the program:
In addition to a pre- post- instrument and qualitative interviews with participants, each facilitator keeps an ongoing journal with comments about what occurred during the sessions. The final evaluation is analyzed so that any necessary program revisions can be made.