LIRNEasia Knowledge Sharing Workshop, 10 – 12 May 2008

Posted on May 13, 2008  /  0 Comments

Yesterday, LIRNEasia successfully concluded 1.5 day Knowledge sharing workshop on methods for ICT user research in emerging markets in Negombo, Sri Lanka. The workshop brought together researchers from the region to share methods (quantitative as well as qualitative) for accurately capturing the teleuse experience of those at the bottom of the pyramid (BOP) or in emerging markets.

In conducting its previous research (Teleuse@BOP1 and Teleuse@BOP2), LIRNEasia has found that this kind of research requires a different approach to that in more mature markets. Experience with research in developed markets has involved (in addition to sample surveys, in-depth interviews and focus group discussions) the analysis of telephone bills as well as call logs on mobile phones, and even the deployment of real time technologies such as Interactive Voice Response (IVR).

But, when it comes to capturing the different dimensions and nuances of usage at the BOP, there are issues which limit the extent to which these methods can be used. In some emerging Asian countries, although almost everyone at the BOP has access to a phone, many don’t own that phone; how can we capture usage patterns accurately at the BOP when it is a public phone being used? Furthermore, more than 90 percent of mobile connections at the BOP are prepaid; how do we capture usage and expenditure patterns where no billing records exist?

Among the workshop participants were researchers from Telenor Research and Innovation (Norway as well as Asia Pacific, Isis International (Philippines) and Sustainable Development Policy Institute (Pakistan), in addition to LIRNEasia’s research fellows from the University of Delhi (India), Thailand Research Development Institute (TRDI) and the National College of Public Administration, University of the Philippines.

Research methods and experiences were exchanged, and lengthy discussions on the Teleuse@BOP2 design and methodology were held; many valuable ideas were contributed by the participants, which will feed into the design of Teleuse@BOP3. Particular attention was paid to how demand modeling can be done, given the data that is likely to result, how the use of ‘more than voice’ or Mobile2.0 applications can be captured, how the true value of telecom access can be ascertained, how the gendered aspects of telecom use can be better captured, and how the diary methodology can be improved to obtain data that can be further leveraged. Summaries of the discussions will be posted later.


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