Composing Module for Research Training for Social Advocacy

 

Since we started the program of Research Training for Local Activists/Young Researcher in 2008, some of our colleagues and friends have asked us whether or not we are providing training module for the program. Up to 2011 the answer was always a no. We repeatedly posed ourselves a question why we had not shared our research experience that might be of some use for the participants to our research-training program.

We wanted to compose a module based on our own experience in organizing the training, and in conducting social research through which we painstakingly improve our knowledge to be shared in the module. The reason for this was the fact that we did not want to just duplicate what some others had been doing in this respect: starting the training with a complete module composed by a team of external experts without themselves had experience in conducting the training beforehand. In other words, we always want to compose a module based on our own experience in organizing the training through which we painstakingly develop our knowledge to be shared in the module.

Which brings us to 2013 when we decided to have a courage to compose the module for the participants to our training program. In composing module for Research Training, we basically want to share our experience in organizing social research, conducting fieldwork, and writing a research report. The module was composed not for the academic environment/communities but for those who are daily engaged in advocating the disadvantaged group of society. We aim not at providing yet another research methodology/method module but more on the processes of learning by doing. So instead of spending weeks on a workshop of composing module we chose to invite some of our research team and alumni of our previous research training to tell the stories of their own experience in conducting research as part of Interseksi’s research team.

We held meetings every two weeks in our office in Jakarta from May to September 2013. The stories were then incorporated into the module by a dedicated team of writers that we had chosen. To fill the gap between the practical experience and the formal procedures of social research, we dispatched a team to interview seasoned researchers in the field of sociology, anthropology, and political science (some of them were the ex-participants of our Expert Meeting forum). We also asked them to write down the answers to our questions regarding some aspects of formal procedures, and solutions to common mistakes and/or problems faced by novice researchers.

The module will be available in two formats: the printed book for the participants of our Research Training program, and the online version which will be open for everyone. We are now converting the module into the HTML and CSS format for our official web site so that it will become accessible for wider parties soon.

Figure 2. Sources four Composing Our Module for Research Training for CSO’s Activists

flow_module

 

The module was composed not for the academic environment/communities but for those who are daily engaged in advocating the disadvantaged group of society. We aim not at providing yet another research methodology/method module but more at the processes of learning by doing. Instead of spending weeks on a workshop of composing module we chose to invite some of our research team and alumni of our previous research training to tell the stories of their own experience in conducting research as part of Interseksi’s research team.

The major challenge we faced in composing such a module was how to write down the materials that are theoretically complicated in a way that any CSO’s activist could manage to comprehend. How to describe things as arcane as methodology derived from social sciences into workable steps doable for people who are not fully familiar with academic jargons. We are not saying that we have already had overcome all the obstacles, but all the processes of composing the module have teaches us a lot of things to be taken into account when we are dealing with a highly conceptual and theoretical discourse on the one hand and practical-activity driven activists on the other. It is also hoped that the module would be of some use for other activists who have concern with the issues of democracy, human rights, citizenship, and many other crucial issues that they are confronted with.

Figure 3. Interseksi’s New Research Training Module

 module

As the spirit of the program is to share experience and knowledge, we gave the module the title, Berbagi Pengalaman. Pelatihan Penelitian Kualitatif untuk Pekerja Organisasi Masyarakat Sipil (Sharing Experience. Qualitative Research Training for Civil Society Organization’s Activists). The module is available in two formats: the printed book for the participants of our Research Training program, and the online version, which will be accessible for everyone. We are now converting the module into the HTML and CSS format for our official web site so that it will become accessible for wider parties soon.