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Linking Research to Practice

Strengthening ICT for Development Research Capacity in Asia

Arul Chib and Roger W Harris

Publication Year: 2012

Information and communication technologies have long promised to provide quality education, improve healthcare, allow open government, and solve environmental issues. To realize this potential and influence policy-making and programme design, the Singapore Internet Research Centre, supported by the IDRC, created an innovative research capacity-building programme, SIRCA. The programme supports interdisciplinary ICTD research through the nurturing of research relationships. By bringing together experienced mentors with deserving early-career Asian researchers in an intellectually stimulating environment, SIRCA has fostered a cohort of talent capable of generating the rigorous scientific evidence needed. Their stories, and reflections upon the programme, are told here. If ever it needed demonstrating that ICTs are an indispensible tool for developing an information society rather than a reward for achieving it, then the SIRCA programme has achieved that.

Published by: ISEAS–Yusof Ishak Institute

Title Page, Copyright

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Table of Contents

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pp. v-vii

List of Tables

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p. viii-viii

List of Figures

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pp. ix-x

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pp. xi-xvi

If, as some suggest, a messy desk is a sign of a creative mind, perhaps a messy conference room is the sign of a creative collaboration. Over the years, I have spent a lot of time in workshops at the Microsoft Research (MSR) offices in Bangalore, but for some reason, I still remember the way the attendees at the ICRC research methods workshop appropriated the MSR space. ...

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pp. xvii-xviii

The Singapore Internet Research Centre (SiRC) has championed the cause of ICT for Development (ICTD) research with Strengthening ICTD Research Capacity in Asia (SIRCA), a pioneer capacity-building programme that aims to develop the research skills of emerging researchers in the Asia Pacific region. Under SIRCA, a number of experienced scholars served as mentors to principal investigators from all over Asia. ...


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pp. xix-xx

Section I: Management Perspectives: Insiders’ Thoughts on the Programme

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1. Perspectives on ICTD Research and Practice

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pp. 3-11

The role of information and communication technologies (ICTs) towards achieving development (ICTD; sometimes referred to as ICT4D) goals, such as education, gender empowerment, health, and poverty eradication has gained a fair bit of traction (United Nations 2005). ICTD is a general expression in which the term ICTs more often refers to new media technologies such as the internet, ...

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2. SIRCA: An Opportunity to Build and Improve the Field of ICT4D

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pp. 12-24

The spread of information and communication technologies (ICTs) across low and middle income countries (LMICs) in Asia has led to differential patterns of appropriation and use (Samarajiva and Zainudeen 2008; Butt et al. 2008). Some amongst these are expected, others less so; some contribute to positive social change, whilst others bear less favourable outcomes. ...

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3. Managing the SIRCA Programme

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pp. 25-38

The Singapore Internet Research Centre (SiRC) and the International Development Research Centre (IDRC) conceptualised the Strengthening ICTD Research Capacity in Asia (SIRCA) programme to improve the social science research skills of emerging Asian scholars in the information and communication technologies for development (ICTD) space. Given the perceived lack of rigour, scholarly representation from the Global South. ...

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4. Primary Investigator and Mentor Perspectives of SIRCA

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pp. 39-46

The Singapore Internet Research Centre (SiRC) committed in establishing SIRCA as one of the best ICTD research grant programmes in Asia, commissioned an external consultant to conduct two evaluations during its pioneer round. Given the ambitious objectives of the programme — to enhance research capacity in the region, to create a space for dialogue on ICTD social science research issues, ...

Section II: Research Perspectives: Theoretical Reflections by Experts

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5. ICTD Praxis: Bridging Theory and Practice

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pp. 49-57

This chapter elaborates on the theoretic dimension of my engagement with the Strengthening ICTD Research Capacity in Asia (SIRCA) Programme.
A distinctive feature of SIRCA is the appointment of mentors along with principal investigators in the research process. When enlisted into the programme as a mentor, amongst the many assumptions that I harboured was that research should lead to theory and that theory should result in further research. ...

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6. Messy Methods for ICT4D Research

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pp. 58-67

The semiconductor industry uses a clean room in which to manufacture silicon chips used in computers. A clean room is purged of dust particles as even a tiny mote can destroy an entire production run. A typical clean room has twelve or less particles per cubic metre, as compared to normal air that ...

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7. Ethics and ICTD Research

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pp. 68-81

The ethics of ICTD research are important and challenging for both emergent and established researchers. The reasons for the importance of research ethics are simple and obvious but still worth enumerating. Basically, research that does not conform to explicit ethical guidelines may be: ...

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8. ICTD Curriculum Development and Professional Training: Mainstreaming SIRCA Research Models

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pp. 82-94

Strengthening Asian ICTD research capacities goes beyond research and mentoring processes. In Asia as in the rest of the world, large and small scale ICTD undertakings at the regional, national and community levels are being planned, implemented and evaluated by international development assistance institutions, bilateral aid agencies, national and local governments, ...

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9. Multi-stakeholder Perspectives Influencing Policy-Research-Practice

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pp. 95-106

Development projects that focus on the use of information and communication technologies for development (ICTD) often involve multiple persons, organisations, methods, and locations that require multiple stakeholder partnerships to enable project success and sustainability. There is a need to develop practical yet theoretically-grounded studies that illuminate the realities of field-based ICTD projects that involve multiple stakeholders, ...

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10. From Production … To Dissemination … To Adoption

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pp. 107-118

As researchers, we seek to resolve unanswered questions; test answers presented by others and refine our understanding of a given phenomenon. After developing our proposals, gathering and analysing data, we write and submit our articles to scholarly journals hoping for a nod from our peers. When we do get such affirmation, we give ourselves a pat on the back, happy that we have done our share in building knowledge. ...

Section III: Research Outputs

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11. It’s the Talk, Not the Tech: What Governments Should Know About Blogging and Social Media

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pp. 121-131

The emergence of Web 2.0 gave rise to low-cost, user-centric, interactive new media that promote social networking and make almost anything and anyone with internet access within ‘clicking reach.’ The fast uptake and growing usage of social media — even in countries where internet penetration is relatively low — are an indication of their immense popularity. ...

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12. Integrating Digital and Human Data Sources for Environmental Planning and Climate Change Adaptation: From Research to Practice in Central Vietnam

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pp. 132-146

Climate-related and climate change-related events are causing problems for agricultural communities in many developing countries, and are requiring new practices that enable these communities to adapt. In planning adaptation practices, two quite different data sources have been common — top-down digital sources such as those provided by remote sensing, and bottom-up human sources such as those provided by participatory events. ...

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13. The Challenge of Working across Contexts and Domains: Mobile Health Education in Rural Cambodia

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pp. 147-156

In general terms, the academic visibility and professional progress of researchers is a process of acculturation and assimilation into specific communities of established researchers and their discourses. Emergent researchers, especially those outside the mainstream of academic institutions and the wider global research community face two problems. ...

14. The Dynamics and Challenges of Academic Internet Use amongst Cambodian University Students

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pp. 157-172

Section IV: Synthesis and Conclusion

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15. Finding a Path to Influencing Policy

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pp. 175-186

The path from research to practice, or vice versa, is neither easy to find nor to follow. Having claimed at the outset that academics and practitioners rarely associate with each other, the output from the research that has been described in this book suggests that there is considerable potential for desirable outcomes if they did. ...

About the Contributors

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pp. 187-192


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pp. 193-196

E-ISBN-13: 9789814380010
Print-ISBN-13: 9789814380003

Page Count: 196
Publication Year: 2012

Edition: 1

Research Areas


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Subject Headings

  • Economic development -- Study and teaching -- Asia.
  • Information technology -- Asia.
  • Telecommunication -- Asia.
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