Is good communication the key to a successful field research?

Although this seems obvious, one must carefully anticipate and avoid improvising in a field mission. Sharing his experience, Obidimma Ezezika, CEO of the African Centre for Innovation and Leadership Development and adjunct Lecturer at the Dalla Lana School of Public Health, University of Toronto, offers tips and a simple method to learn to communicate in research mission in an article published on SciDev.net.

If there is no perfect recipe, trusting your instinct is often the worst solution. Good communication is, above all else, a human interaction that should be carefully prepared. Ezezika shares a method based on its long experience and his vision of communication based on the creation of a true relationship with the participants. The simple and effective method, illustrated by numerous examples, is divided into seven chronological stages whose simplicity only underlines the human investment demanded by any research field.

  • Focus on trust
  • Build a relationship early on
  • Listen and learn
  • Get to know your participants
  • Use the right communication methods
  • Get informed consent
  • Communication should not end with the research

“Building trust is fundamental — its presence or absence will determine the effectiveness and sustainability of your research project.” As Mr Ezezika states, good communication is always two-way and trust is gained if the exchange is made on an equal basis. It should always be kept in mind that research is a bilateral sharing time with participants. The researcher have has as much to gain and learn as the participant.

For more information, please read the full article on the website of SciDev.net (English only)

(Image courtesy of Paul Courtright, 2007)