Monday, November 3, 2008

Final field work post

I have now returned to DC after 6 weeks of work in Uganda. A few problems arose, but for the most part I am happy with how the work went. I am glad to be back in my own bed though; 6 weeks of hotels is too much.

I learned quite a bit on this trip, including:
  • Over planning - just like underplanning - your time can be bad. Honestly, I could have finsihed the work in at least 2 weeks faster than I did, even considering all of the delays that were not my fault. The extra time ended up being wasted, and wasted time in a hotel puts me in a bad mood. Planning your time in the field is more of an art, which I hope to get better at in the future.
  • Make sure your research team doesn't frighten the respondents. Seriously. In many countries the government asking a bunch of personal questions makes people nervous, especially if they think it's the revenue authority asking the questions! Introductions should be done in the beginning and the role of the research made clear.
  • Delays will happen, so make sure you have a back-up plan. Delays in contracting have meant that the micro-enterprise portion of the project will be put on hold until January. I'm disappointed, but at least it means I'll be going back for a few weeks.
  • Make sure to get a real vacation in between the work. I took 1.5 days off the whole time I was in Uganda for pure relaxation, and that was no where near enough. I should have given myself at least a few days of break.

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