One of The Communication Initiative (CI)'s Partners is the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) World Service Trust (WST), an international non-governmental organisation (NGO) promoting social development through the use of media and communication. Research underpins all the BBC WST's work, informing each stage of project delivery and helping to capture evidence of impact. To that end, the Research and Learning Group (R&L) has delivered research in 22 languages across 39 countries in Africa, Asia, the Middle East, and Latin America. For example, ' A Question of Research at the BBC World Service Trust'. by Gerry Power
This April 2009 article by the Director of Research and Knowledge Management at the BBC WST explores the rationale and approach behind the R&L's work. R&L specialises in gathering data from rural, remote and hard-to-reach populations. It most commonly employs face-to-face methods in the form of in-depth interviews, focus group discussions, surveys, and content and discourse analysis. The data are analysed using a variety of software packages, qualitative tools, and statistical techniques. The 4 stages of research - formative, pre-testing, monitoring phase, and impact - are outlined here and illustrated with cases from the field in Nigeria, Afghanistan, Bangladesh, and Cambodia. The final section of the paper highlights a few of the conceptual, methodological, and operational challenges that R&L has faced in its work over the past 4 years.