TASCHA kicked off field research for the Regional Study & Resource Center Evaluation project in Namibia in March 2015. Fieldwork is crucial to research success, particularly when performing evaluation work. Principal Investigator Araba Sey and Research Analyst Michelle Fellows visited Namibia to conduct research activities that comprise part of the first component of the project. Over the period of a few weeks, the researchers went to Windhoek, Gobabis, Oshakati, Helao Nafidi, and Eenhana to visit the Regional Study & Resource Centers (RSRCs), conduct interviews, and observe staff and patrons in the RSRCs.
The main objectives of this research trip were to conduct interviews with key informants, determine data collection plans for future research activities, and meet with potential local research partners who will work with us to carry out future research activities, such as patron surveys and panel studies.
The interviews, which took up much of the field visit, were conducted with approximately 20 key informants who have had various roles working on the RSRCs, such as government representatives from the Ministry of Education, staff from the Namibia Library and Archive Service (NLAS), and staff from the local program implementing organizations and contractors, such as MCA-N and IREX. Many of the people interviewed in this round will also be interviewed or surveyed in subsequent periods of the evaluation. Findings from these interviews will help inform the rest of the research, as well as provide diverse perspectives on the RSRCs and illuminate possible outcomes of the centers in Namibia.
The researchers also conducted preliminary observations in the RSRCs to shape the data collection plan for future research activities, as well as to begin the assessment of the nature and quality of the activities in the centers. The researchers also met with various RSRC staff and learned more about the data being collected on the center patrons and activities.
We are currently working on selecting local research partners and analysis of the interview transcripts. Data collection plans are also being finalized, and patron survey data collection will begin soon.