Before entering a field there are a lot of things that needs to be thought about, texts that needs to be written and signed. This blogpost gives you an insight into some of what this has entailed in the Mediafrica project.
To get the project started contracts between Oslo and Akershus University College and the various partners had to be developed, agreed upon and signed, before the final contract between Oslo and Akershus University College as project owner and the Norwegian Research Council as funder could be signed.
Since the Mediafrica project is funded by the Research Council of Norway and has a Norwegian project owner (HIOA) everything we do in the project must be in accordance with privacy and research rules of the Data protection official for research, Norwegian Social Science Services (NSD). This process does not only involve filling in forms to notify NSD, but also requires that we have developed texts for informed consent, information letters, survey and interview questions, and manuals for data handling procedures and storage before entering the field. Having developed all the necessary documents we submitted an application for ethical clearance to the Norwegian data authorities in March 2015 and received clearance shortly after.
Research permit and affiliation
For research permit for the fieldwork in Botswana, we applied to the Office of research and Development at the University of Botswana. Much of this work was done during a preparatory visit made by Jo Helle-Valle and Ardis Storm-Mathisen to Botswana spring 2015. This process also involved submitting texts for informed consent, information letters, survey and interview questions and manuals for data handeling procedures and storage as well as filling in forms for ethical clearance, research permit application and affiliation.
As the date for departure to Botswana nears all formalities are in place and the team can concentrate on data gathering straight away.
Developing and launching the homepage
An additional, important preparation for fieldwork is the launching of the project's homepage. This has been made possible by the very professional efforts of our homepage developer and editor, Niels Theissen.