African Maths Initiative Blogs

CCRP Research: Realities in the Field

The research team preparing to head out to the field on the first day of the research exercise.

The research team preparing to head out to the field on the first day of the research exercise.

The first day out in the field had mixed feelings both excitement and uneasiness. I was excited I would finally put all the practice and preparation I had done into place. But on the other side, I didn’t know what was on the ground. I was not the only one feeling this way; this was clearly visible from the behaviour of my colleagues on our way to the targeted community.
On arrival to the region targeted, we evenly distributed ourselves. My partner and I had agreed prior to the day how we would share the day activities and therefore we were set. I personally thought that collecting data was not any big problem as compared asking the questions. Let’s see if this s was the case out there.
First thing before everything else was the introduction part. This entailed; who you are, what you want, why you want it from them, who sent you, what you are going to do with that information. After that, some would want to know what you are going to do for them. The explanation part of it turned out to be more than I thought would be required. But in few cases some people didn’t care so much of this whole part; they were ready to answer the questions. This was due to how university students are viewed as very knowledgeable people and some felt like we were very important people that they wouldn’t afford to lose the opportunity of sitting with us.
The administering questionnaire part of it took longer than I expected because we were not quite familiar with the flow of the questions. The fact that we had really tried to perfect our Kiswahili back in the practice sessions didn’t match with our expectations because most of the farmers were used to simple Kiswahili. It was more problematic to comprehend the meaning of the responses we received. Probing became the theme to be able to get quality data.
In some instances, farmers expected advice and solutions concerning their agricultural problems. They viewed us experts in this field. It was difficult for us to explain to them that we, not professionals but students and we are from different disciplines brought together to conduct research.
At the end of the day, the whole team had a different experience from what they had anticipated. We had to reconsider all that we would expect and be flexible to adapt the unexpected.

By Judy Gathigia

Judy is a Political Science Student at Maseno University.

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