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Research Tools, Resources and Reports
The Tea Leaf Center
Greetings from our new work-from-home reality! We hope you are all safe, healthy and staying mentally strong.
Is anyone else trying to teach their cat to do their work for them?
The Tea Leaf Center is adjusting to this challenging time by putting more of a focus on the online components of our work. That means:

1. Preparing to offer some of our core courses online, starting with Writing for Research and Advocacy.

2. Learning all about remote researching so we can continue our work and support our partners to bring their work online, as needed.

Not only is this renewed virtual focus useful for the current situation, but it allows us to reach more people and organizations, and adds another tool to our (and our partners') research practice.

We should have some of the courses up in the next few weeks, and will be posting more resources and blogs about remote research.
Wondering how you can adapt to this 'remote researching' world?

Contact to schedule a free consultation about how you can adapt your research plans to bring them online!
Before all of this started, The Tea Leaf Center was in Myitkyina to support a baseline study for a local organization - and taught a one-day 'survey data analysis' class for the enumerators. We also met with some great organizations, including Pinnya Tagar Academy and the Naushawng Development Institute, to discuss future collaboration.
Resources and Tools
While doing research online is not always ideal, it's necessary in the current situation. Adding new skills to your research practice, including facilitating online focus groups and working with web-based survey platforms, can help you not just now but in the long term. So, we've started to collect some resources that may help you in that journey.

Most of us have experienced the phone-interview or Skype-interview, but what about focus groups or participatory research? This guide to Leading Groups Online has been a huge help to me. It's written by two facilitators with years of experience running workshops online, and it was written specifically for the current COVID-19 crisis. It really made me feel much more ready to tackle the challenge of online focus groups than I had felt before reading it. There are also tons of other resources by the same organizations, including how to use one of my favorite group tools online - spectograms.

For a more academic approach, the Google Doc Doing Fieldwork in a Pandemic offers a bibliography of sources on the various methodologies you can use remotely/online. This includes using social media as sources - as in this fascinating piece on analyzing social debates online - and using communication technologies in data collection.  There are also sources on the ethical issues that come up in this type of research - whether it's using existing social media data or generating new data remotely.

Finally, remote research brings a new set of security concerns. The tactics you had in protecting your participants offline are not the same online. Frontline Defenders produced this great preliminary guide to physical, emotional and digital protection for human rights defenders working from home - and it's also useful for researchers. It walks you through the main issues involved, and suggests software and other tools to protect yourself and your research participants.

When choosing tools for online communication, make sure they are secure - I'm looking at you, Zoom. Instead of Zoom or Skype, you can use an open-source, secure tool like Jitsi. Whatever you choose, make sure you are considering security, accessibility (try to find a free option that doesn't require the participants to download a new program or app), and the technical capacities you want (do you need to record? Share screens? How many people do you need to have on the call?). 
Civil Society Research Outputs
This month's example of a great research output by civil society is from the Karen Women's Organization, whose research highlights the resilience and contributions of female village leaders during the conflict in Myanmar. The report, "Kill Me Instead of Them", is the result of participatory research conducted with Karen women who were village leaders during conflict, allowing them to share their stories and experiences through participatory activities.

In the data collection realm, The Ananda in Myanmar has put together a lot of useful data, sourced from various public sources, about COVID-19 in Myanmar, including quarantine facilities and medical supplies. Open, accessible data is crucial at this time, when governments around the region have enacted restrictive laws on reporting related to the virus.
Copyright © The Tea Leaf Center 2020 , All rights reserved.

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