Good Development Informatics Research Case Analysis Critical Thinking Example
Aims of the case
The case uses an analytical approach to probe the role that information and communication technology plays in improving employment services for low-income groups. The research used 70 NGOs that provided ICT services to low-income groups in 30 countries around the world. Specifically, the research probed ion the linkage between ICT skills and employability in three perspectives: NGO program design, features of individual job seekers and environmental factors that affect employment outcomes.
The research is modeled around NGO participation in local community of participating countries because NGOs play a crucial role. NGOs are increasingly playing a role in enhancing labor market information, skills and social connections for disadvantaged members of the community. Because they present the only opportunity for low income earners to improve their job prospects, NGOs programs are worth analyzing with respect to ICT skills and employability. Their approaches differ the same as their scope and the needs of the population. All in all they aspire to attract employers, government’s donors and the entire population (Campbell, 1988).
The research found that developing ICT skills in addition to the training experience elevate immigrant women’s employability rate in many ways. ICT programs provided by NGOs promote women’s social networks and enhance their drive to continue to learn. Other benefits if the skill includes overcoming of language barriers, significant factor in securing employment among others. Language acquisition is achieved in e-learning activities and informally through interactions in digital learning activities (Campbell, 1969).
This research started as a project based at the University of Washington pursued by the Technology and Social Change (TASCHA) Group. TASCHA was formerly the Center for Information & Society. The research started as an agenda probing the relationship between basic ICT skills training and employability in a period of four years. Initially, the work was an evaluation program for Microsoft Community Affairs to assess the effect of its global Community Technology Skills Program (CTSP). Over time the program shifted from a program evaluation to a public facing research initiative whose scope expanded beyond Microsoft to other organizations (Campbell, & Overman, 1988).
Financing for the project was sourced from Microsoft grants which facilitated comparisons across a number of global organizations who were involved in the same services. A number of subsequent studies were conducted by TASCHA for a period of 3 years. The studies presented organizations in 30 countries an opportunity to give the variety of service models they use to target diverse populations. The study was conducted in a number of countries between 2007 and 2009 which included USA (Washington, Massachusetts, Oregon), Brazil, Ecuador, Mexico, Venezuela, Spain, Netherlands, Colombia, Australia, Poland, among others (Berntson,2003).
Having established an expanded framework of evaluation based on Microsoft, the research was conducted based on quasi-experimentation and attribution theory. There was a greater number of training programs undertaken by NGO organizations and focusing on successful ICT skills and employability (European Commission, 2004).
Quasi-experimentation is a research strategy adopted for this research. Quasi-experimentation is research strategy advocated by Donald Campbell (1969) among others. The suitability of this research strategy is pegged on the adaptability of the various programs to their particular scenarios. Since every program had different setting, assets, constraints and needs of the users it was impossible to randomly select them to represent the whole population. Quasi-experimentation seemed the appropriate strategy to inquire how various variables with varying levels of significance could lead to a coherent body of evidence (Fan, Dey, & Peng, 2006).
Instead of throwing out evidence that is found to be out of control, the method iteratively developed and refined ideas based on previous research findings to improve the output of future research.
Another strategy applied to refine quasi-experimentation is the use of attribution theory. The theory is associated with Fritz Heider helps remove undesirable characteristics from scientific inquiry. According to the theory, numerous examples across disparate settings are analyzed and varied to determine their typicality or lack of it. The theory banks on choosing, analyzing and designing research process to maximize the amount of relevant data (Collis, & Hussey, 2013).
Sample and sampling process
A case study approach is used to probe the experiences of women in four European Union countries: Italy, Spain, Hungary and Netherlands. In the case study, 375 immigrant women with ICT skills training and employability were examined. The immigrant women were facilitated by 32 NGO’s operating in these countries (Zikmund, Babin, Carr, & Griffin, 2012). The sample was selected based on convenience sampling. Though a true representation of the population that benefit from NGO programs were not possible to determine, a sample was taken. A small compensation was provided for taking part in the survey (European Commission, 2004).
The survey was translated to six languages and implemented using individual and group interviews. The sample was interviewed using structured and unstructured interview questions probing on their experiences on employment experiences, family dynamics and their aspirations for improving job opportunities. The sample had diverse characteristics in terms of family structure, nationality, spoken languages and levels of education (Bryman, & Bell, 2011).
Best practice in this research
The research develops a framework based on data aggregated over a reasonable period of time. TASCHA ICT and employability study is based on a number of research studies conducted in several countries by different NGO entities. The use of informed criticism in analyzing rival hypotheses and subjecting the outcome to supplementary research is a best practice as far as research is concerned. A number of research participants from different countries were enrolled in the research. Their consent were secured prior to conducting the research and nominal compensation offered was agreed upon by all the parties. To promote equity, the rate of compensating participants was computed at one hour of paid time based on official minimum wage in each of the participating countries. Given the global context with which the research was based on, this was necessary to eliminate biasness (Easterby-Smith, Thorpe, & Jackson, 2012).
Research was customized to fit the setting with which it was performed by translating to local languages. Six languages was used to promote understanding of the research questions and clarity in response. Finally, research was conducted in four EU countries to reflect the dynamic political environment, environmental influence and the attitudes towards migration in the four regions (Zikmund, Babin, Carr, & Griffin, 2012). A fair representation of the economic and social integration of immigrant participants in the four locations was manifested. This is especially so to illustrate the differences in old destination and new destination countries for immigrant with the former representing Netherland (Fan,2006).
Alternative research methods
In this research, an alternative method would be to use the Regression Point Displacement design. RPD is a simple quasi-experimental research that has significant implications for community based research programs. The difficult with community programs is that it is difficult to predict causal agents or determine if a program makes a difference as opposed to potential effects (Doz, 2011). In this case, NGO’s programs were implemented in more than one community and an efficient way to determine cause and affect parameters is to look at the pre-post indicators and see whether there is a change. If there is a notable change, the test is conducted in different communities and a comparison conducted. Usually, there is a single unit of measurement for the program and comparison sets (Berntson, Sverke, & Marklund, 2003).
The advantage with this strategy is that it enhances single program units circumstances because research was based on single units in different countries. Pre-post results of a single unit would be compared with a large set of results for other communities. The point is not to rely on rely on a single nonequivalent community to model the comparison condition as the research did. Results from heterogeneous set of nonequivalent communities are used to model a comparison structure and the single units compared against this model on a country or regional basis (Barratt, Choi, & Li, 2011). The approach is highly efficient in making casual inferences of the cause and effect of ICT and employability of women immigrants. The difficult with community programs is that it is difficult to predict causal agents or determine if a program makes a difference as opposed to potential effects. In this case, NGO’s programs were implemented in more than one community and an efficient way to determine cause and affect parameters is to look at the pre-post indicators and see whether there is a change (Saunders, Saunders, Lewis, & Thornhill, 2011). If there is a notable change, the test is conducted in different communities and a comparison conducted. Usually, there is a single unit of measurement for the program and comparison sets. If there is a notable change, the test is conducted in different communities and a comparison conducted. Usually, there is a single unit of measurement for the program and comparison sets.
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