Activity 1.2 C
Identify your outstanding questions (and how to answer them)
The exercise in this activity will help you to identify and prioritise your outstanding questions – your known unknowns – and the best way to rapidly gather reliable information on each of them.
You have now identified what you and your team know, as well as outstanding questions that you need to answer in order for you to understand the problem better. Now is the time to prioritise them, and figure out how to answer them.
Things to consider
- Ensure that consent is obtained in an appropriate manner from anyone who is the subject of your research.
- Any time that you are engaging in research with affected, vulnerable and sometimes traumatised people there are profound power dynamics and potential for harm. It is therefore critical that you adhere to best practice regarding human subjects research and humanitarian principles.
- Check whether any communities have recently been involved in research by humanitarian agencies, such as assessments or evaluations. You should not be overburdening people with requests to participate in information gathering exercises.
- In the early days after an emergency response people have little if any time to participate in research activities; if they are working for humanitarian organisations they will be overstretched, while affected people are often trying to find relatives and friends, salvage possessions and are trying to work out how they can obtain basic goods and services, shelter and even food. Be respectful of time as it is in very short supply for most people in these circumstances.
- If you are carrying out any research on a sector, ensure that you have a good understanding of the standards for that sector.