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M. Rezaul Islam

The purpose of this chapter is to develop methods and framework of participatory action research (PAR) for community development in Bangladesh. Drawing from a number of community empowerment and community development field-based research examples, this chapter looks at the suitable research methods and framework of PAR that will help researchers to develop this research framework to consider the contextual aspects. It is noted that in Bangladesh there is a high volume of field-based research work in the community development field to address community development phenomena such as community planning, community participation, community partnership, community empowerment and sustainable community development. But there are no suitable methods and research framework that can command the community development related perspectives and contextual aspects of Bangladesh. This chapter provides a template of methods and framework of PAR with its definitions, principles, strengths and challenges in the community development field in Bangladesh. We hope that this chapter shows more clearly how participatory action research differs from other forms of social inquiry, integrating more clearly its political and methodological intentions. This research framework will be an important guideline for community level field practitioners, researchers, disaster experts, and policymakers.

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Ashek Mahmud, M. Rezaul Islam and Hamedi M. Adnan

This paper illustrates the challenges and overcoming strategies of data collection on the issue of smartphone addiction among the university students of Bangladesh. The study as part of the PhD research entitled ‘Prevalent Smartphone Use and Its Impacts on Social Capital among the University Students of Bangladesh’ manifests various ethical drawbacks, socio-cultural malpractices, and structural limitations even though this study applied both the questionnaire survey and in-depth interview as mixed-method for data collection. University students, as cognitive youth community, of Dhaka city was the field of data collection. This paper highlights the substantive and instrumental challenges of data collection in mixed-method research. The findings reveal and suggest few rectifying actions, which include the application of stratified random sampling for the survey, re-shaping guidance to the research instrument, employing a suitable environment for selecting respondents, adopting the self-innovative strategy, and using the power of networking with strong referencing. The paper concludes with the recommendations with showing the specific way out to ensure higher reliability and ethical strength in mixed method’s research that will be the proper guideline for having a steady output and going for the further research.

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Shofiqur Rahman Chowdhury, M. Rezaul Islam and Haris Abd Wahab

This chapter is a part of the first author’s PhD works’ data collection experience in the rural community in Bangladesh as titled Community Empowerment Initiatives of Faith-based NGOs: A Case Study on Islamic Relief Worldwide in Bangladesh where data were collected using convergent parallel mixed-methods research design. The paper neither shares the plethoric field data nor any conceptual jargon about the Ph.D. Work. Rather, it focuses on field experiences during data collection that aims to investigate the nature of the contribution of the Islamic Relief Worldwide (IR), a faith-inspired international NGO to community empowerment from a village of Bangladesh. The chapter discusses some challenges about the accessibility into the community for data collection. Issues cover such as blocking community threat, understanding of local culture, clarifying study objectives, conducting uninterrupted surveys, interviews. Besides, other concerns from the researcher’s perspective are maintaining the professional probity, commitment, and devotion to data collection. The chapter finds the adoptions of different social and institutional gatekeepers, community mapping, applying local contextual examples to clarify study objectives, and recalling positive memories as effective ways to deal with the nuances in the field and data collection. The findings could be useful for the researchers interested in researching the rural area, particularly in the poverty-driven or disadvantaged community

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Munira Jahan Sumi, M. Rezaul Islam and Ramy Bulan

PhD research is said to be the result of combined knowledge shared between the PhD supervisor and the fellow. The journey started with the advice of the research supervisors while they just narrowed down the research area and introduced the research title, focusing on a specific area, as, ‘Land Rights of Indigenous Peoples of Bangladesh: A study on Santal Community in Bangladesh’. Eventually, the fellow research felt relieved, but when she could understand what she need do in a PhD research, what she learned and what her supervisors want her to, she was quite nervous. Very soon the fellow researcher overcome the same and get prepared for the research study with the confidence and support of the research supervisors. Therefore, though the chapter describes the first author’s PhD research data collection experiences, it is a journey followed by group research. It has always been the most challenging and exciting part of the research, to go down to the field and collect data, to nourish and cherish the result with the fruit that comes through real-life experiences. As researchers, we have gone through the same but, the experiences that we gathered during the visit to different places, to understand the spiritual relationship between the indigenous peoples, like the Santals, with their land, was something completely different of what we arranged in our mind before going to the field. Therefore, our primary challenge was to rearrange that shattered mind which was far from reality. The researchers have experienced the bitter reality showing that despite being the citizen of Bangladesh, the indigenous communities like, the Santals, are in an identity crisis as a distinct and unique group. Therefore, the researchers intend to endeavour the reason that leads them to lose their inherited cultural and traditional rights. As such, the researchers have tried to pen down all the hopes and frustrations, all the discriminatory attitudes and thoughts of the countrymen towards these vulnerable people. The researchers also tried to get their opinion as to if they get a chance what they would do to secure their life and surprisingly, their answer was very much rational, which helped us too, to be practical. Whatever we learned from them, is the basis upon which we can put forward a legal structure that will reflect the international standards to recognize and provide their rights, particularly their traditional land rights. Hopefully, these findings would be able to create interest among the researchers and students to do further research on a similar context

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Bushra Zaman, M. Rezaul Islam and Rosila Bee Mohd Hussain

This chapter reflects on the hands-on experience of the first author’s field work conducted for a Doctoral study on “Usage of Social Capital Among Migrant Workers for Their Livelihoods in Malaysia”. The study used a mixed-method approach to examine whether social capital can bring any change in the migrant workers’ livelihoods between two highest labour sending countries, Indonesia and Bangladesh. For data collection, we selected Klang Valley, Malaysia where structured questionnaire, interview guideline and interview protocol were used as data collection tools. This chapter highlights five key fieldwork-related challenges - gender stereotyping, language barrier, safety and security of the researchers, natural incertitude of migrant workers, and first rejection from the key informants. At the end, leveraging the power of networking, building relationships, developing acceptance, pursuing alternative avenues to address different challenges, being persevered and prepared, lastly, following passion and purpose of a researcher helped to minimize and manage those risks. Fieldworks are hardly predictable; however, this chapter concludes that obstacles can be minimized through meaningful participation in both identifying risks and strategizing to manage those risks. Sharing these practical experiences and challenges through this chapter will contribute to the idea of planning for risk management for future researchers (and especially female researchers) in a foreign country.

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Tahmina Islam, M. Rezaul Islam and Siti Hajar Abu Bakar Ah

This book chapter reports the data collection experiences of a study titled “Community-based rehabilitation for acid assault victims of Bangladesh”. The study was conducted in Dhaka and Sylhet, two divisions of Bangladesh. It was a qualitative case study method. In-depth interview, Focus Group Discussion and Key Informant Interviews were used as data collection techniques. The objective of this chapter is to explain the challenges faced during data collection and strategies used to overcome them. Finding potential respondents, convincing them for interviews and finally making them express their situations was a big challenge. Using the Acid Survivor Foundation as the gatekeeper for research helped in this regard. Some social and physical aspects like behaviour of people surrounding the acid survivors and bad transport and communications system of the country posed barriers to data collection. Civil society engagement and the researcher’s expression of forbearance and empathy solved these problems. All the survivors suffer from identity crisis which had to be dealt with utmost care. Creating a comfortable environment for interviews earned the respondents’ trust. Taking care of their emotional stress and assurance of safety and confidentiality helped create a bond with the researcher resulting in spontaneous responds from them. Furthermore, given the nature of the topic, the issue of value conflict also arose, which had to be handled by means of building individualized perspective. This chapter may prove to be useful for researchers working on sensitive issues like violence against women.

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Taj Sultana, Firuza Begham Binti Mustafa, Jillian Ooi Lean Sim and M. Rezaul Islam

Researchers often face challenges when collecting primary data, which may influence the degree to which they are able to achieve their research objectives. This chapter is based on the first author’s doctoral data collection experience when studying the impacts of tidal inundation on the Chattogram city coastal dwellers in Bangladesh, and their coping strategies. The study employed a mixed-methods approach that consisted of questionnaire surveys, Focus Group Discussions and Key Informant Interviews for households impacted by tidal inundation. The challenges faced consisted of those related to (1) site accessibility when impeded by tidal floods, (2) social issues such as personal security, lack of trust between researcher and respondents, and the problem of matching official addresses to actual physical locations, and (3) political issues that came about because data collection coincided with the national elections of 2018, creating a volatile and politically-charged situation within the study area. This chapter provides insight into how the research team attempted to mitigate each of these challenges. The authors acknowledge that female researchers often face unique challenges precisely because of their gender, and end by offering some suggestions that may help when working in similar environments.

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M. Rezaul Islam, Niaz Ahmed Khan, Siti Hajar Abu Bakar Ah, Haris Abd Wahab and Mashitah Binti Hamidi

Fieldwork/data collection is one of the most important parts in the research process, and it is particularly important for social sciences research. A number of aspects that need to be considered by a researcher before starting data collection include: ethical permission from the concerned ethical body/committee, informed consent, contract with different stakeholders, field settings, time allocation and time management, field leading, data collection, contextual and cultural diversities, community settings, socioeconomic and psychological patterns of the community, political pattern, rapport building between data collectors and respondents, permission to access community, language and mode of data collection, power relations, role of gatekeepers, privacy and confidentiality issues, layers of expectations among researchers/respondents/ funding organization, data recording (written, memorization, voice recording and video recording), and so on. Many aspects are very difficult to understand before going into the field. Sometimes, a researcher’s previous experience about a particular community may help to gain field access, but it may be difficult to assess the field in advance due to rapid changes within people’s livelihoods and other shifts in the community. The change of a political paradigm sometimes seems also to be a challenge at the field level. We believe that although technological innovation has benefited some aspects of the data collection of fieldwork in social research, many other dimensions (mentioned above) of fieldwork endure unchanged.