Through bespoke research projects, we enable our partners to listen to the views of ordinary people as expressed in real social spaces.
Each project begins with a careful research design tailored to the needs of our partners — from international NGOs to social change media companies. We engage their target populations by sparking dynamic and inclusive conversations in interactive forums, such as radio and social media. Within these social spaces, opinions and beliefs are spontaneously expressed through SMS, social media and instant messaging. The digital data we collect is conversational in nature, thereby creating a rich but complex dataset.
Unlike statistical surveys which often fail to capture the nuances of beliefs and opinions, Africa’s Voices approach allows us to gain insights from conversations held in local vernacular languages and on a scale previously unattainable for qualitative methods. We achieve this scope and depth of research through a unique combination of qualitative and quantitative research approaches – semantic networks, grounded theory, thematic analysis and machine learning – that have emerged out of years of research at the University of Cambridge.
The above diagram illustrates the approach used by AVF to analyse data, and is narrated by our Head of Research, Claudia Lopes, in this video.
Insights into people’s collective beliefs allow us to identify ideas shared among different demographics across the countries (location, age, gender, etc.) as well as differences between them. While this type of data is always partially skewed insofar it reflects the social reality of radio discussions and their audiences – and thus cannot be representative of the entire population – when the sample size is large enough, it nonetheless allows us to map out the beliefs of different populations in granular detail.
We deliver insights and actionable recommendations in visual reports, presentations and interactive dashboards. By providing our partners with crucial insights into the social and mental frameworks of the people they serve, they are able to shape their programmes according to people’s actual needs, expectations, and feedback — ensuring they are more appropriate, effective and impactful.