Research Anecdotes: Technology for Willingness to Access to Healthcare, Pakistan

Research is a carefully planned and painstakingly detailed endeavor. However, no matter how much you prepare, when you are dealing with humans, outliers will always exist! For a real flavor of what it’s like to conduct research in any environment and especially in a foreign country read the excerpt below and take a look at the photos depicting the Researchers training and conducting mock experiments in preparation for the real thing!

Excerpt of communique from a Primary Investigator:

“By end of today, we have held sessions for 40 households, following the scheme of 4 parallel sessions, 3 rounds of sessions a day. The researchers are comfortable in local languages and where need be, they’ve slowed down so that the tasks are being explained appropriately. So far households speak Punjabi, Urdu or Mewati. The third is a small minority language in the area and these households communicate in Urdu rather than in Punjabi. We have a wider variation of literacy and numeracy skills in the mothers in law. Every day minor issues are dealt with. Today we had gusts of wind and little rain in the middle of the second session; we temporarily shifted tables indoors for two groups, husbands and mothers in law. After completing the session, we shifted back to the outdoor tented venue as the weather had cleared up. Out of the remaining undelivered boxes of supplies, 4 were retrieved by Contech staff today from Central Post Office, one had been sent on for delivery by the postal service. We are hoping it will be delivered tomorrow. I am starting data entry by the Contech personnel on the template you sent me. I have only partially amended the first sheet to record session earnings to clarify column headings. Every day, I ask one of the observers to help with reviewing the completed folders to spot any missing entries and records so that they can be corrected immediately. On the men’s side, one researchers is weak and I have been helping him myself as well as through requesting added attention from the observer, Atiq, the college principal.

Today we had a mother in law who was around 70 and claimed that she did not understand much, so the researcher should tell her what to do. Due to earlier drilling during training of such potential situations, the researcher called me and we tried to explain to her that it is her choices only that we can record. Then in Task 2 variations she wanted to pull many tokens at once so that at least one of them is yellow and said that she has a tremor in her hands and so more tokens come into her hands, while pretending that she does not understand much what is going on. The researcher explained to her that people with tremors actually would have difficulty holding more tokens. We paced down the task and said that if more than one tokens are pulled out we will not record them. Finally, after about 10 minutes of explanations she started doing the tasks alright. Later she wanted to negotiate a higher amount for IDR payment the amount of the slip was higher but she had given her preference for Rs.1000 in 2 weeks. Her tasks took longer but were completed alright.

Yesterday, we had two households with a common mother in law. I asked the researchers to do the choice tasks only once with the mother in law. But we have recorded in the second relevant folder that it is the same mother in law and therefore in data entry we will have two entries for her with an explanatory note. The mother in law in question wanted to do the tasks twice so that she could have another round of earnings; I thought that that would be irregular as it is the same person. It was disappointing for her but I thought this was the right decision.”

Technology for Willingness to Access to Healthcare, Pakistan- Gallery: