Query formulation (chapter 1)


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Query formulation (chapter 1)

  1. 1. Chapter 1: Framing a Good Query
  2. 2. Query Service Solution Exchange “Services” – what we do: e-Discussion Publication 2. e-Discussion Priority topic 3. e-Consultation Draft plan/ policy/ programme “ For Comments” Feedback for consideration e-Discussion (or Query) Action Group assignment Action research; pilot; strategy; proposal 4. Action Group 1. Query service Responses Consolidated Reply Question
  3. 3. Why “Frame” a Query? <ul><li>If you are a member of a Solution Exchange Community you probably think that someone who wants to post a query just sends it to the Moderator, and up it goes. There is much more to it than that. </li></ul><ul><li>Moderators spend a lot of time and effort in ensuring that the Community has a continual source of relevant, interesting, well-framed queries. In fact, each of these elements is a lesson in itself. </li></ul>
  4. 4. Framing a Good Query <ul><li>Presentation of issue and context in a manner that compels members to respond </li></ul><ul><li>Clarity in articulating what exactly is sought to keep responses focused </li></ul><ul><li>Caters to the ‘Knowledge Needs’ of members </li></ul><ul><li>Brings issues on table; Advocacy </li></ul><ul><li>‘ Fulcrum’ or ‘crux’ of Community’s interactions </li></ul><ul><li>Keep energy of community at sustainable level </li></ul><ul><li>Defines the pace of interactions </li></ul>
  5. 5. Parts of a Query <ul><li>4 Parts of Query </li></ul><ul><li>Context </li></ul><ul><li>Issue </li></ul><ul><li>Question Statement </li></ul><ul><li>Signature </li></ul>
  6. 6. <ul><li>Opening statement in the query </li></ul><ul><li>To give reader a background on query-poser- work organization/individual is involved in </li></ul><ul><li>To understand why question is asked </li></ul><ul><li>Helps the reader determine whether the information shared will actually be used by query-poser in practice and therefore helps decide whether to respond </li></ul><ul><li>Needs to be clear and compelling </li></ul>The Context
  7. 7. The Context- Tips <ul><li>Often, query is in a raw form and does not have these details </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Members don’t think it important to give background </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Call member or e-mail to ask for specific information to be included </li></ul></ul><ul><li>If you know something about member, you could draft something and send it to member to review (saves time) </li></ul><ul><li>Explain to member that the query will get better responses if this information is included </li></ul>
  8. 8. <ul><li>I work for a GTZ program (German development cooperation) in Delhi called Promotion of Industrial Services and Employment PISE. It supports several private and governmental vocational training institutes all over India in the area of high tech, like automation, mechatronics, tool and die making, etc., which try to meet the requirements of technology-intensive small and medium enterprises. We aim to establish a gender strategy for these technology centres. </li></ul><ul><li>Overall objectives are to attract as well as to prepare more women towards non-traditional vocational courses at technology institutes and to increase the employability of women for better paid and technical skills demanding jobs on a sustainable basis. </li></ul><ul><li>Our partner institutions are very interested in joining our effort of implementing gender related initiatives as well and have been already working on this topic and made first experiences.  Nevertheless by now we have been facing several challenges: </li></ul>The Context- Samples
  9. 9. The Issue <ul><li>Describes the situation on the ground and the real challenge being faced </li></ul><ul><li>Tips </li></ul><ul><li>Not much editing required – leave in original form to give flavor of personality of the questioner </li></ul><ul><li>Give members enough of a picture of the situation/ issues to provide a relevant reply </li></ul><ul><li>Not too long, just few lines/a small paragraph </li></ul><ul><li>Weave context in first paragraph into issues in next paragraph and lead to question statement </li></ul>
  10. 10. The Issue- Sample <ul><li>Nevertheless by now we have been facing several challenges: </li></ul><ul><li>  </li></ul><ul><li>The training schemes of the institutes are mostly short term courses which makes the establishment of specific offers for women (like in personality development, counselling, mentoring, job placement etc.) difficult. </li></ul><ul><li>In addition they operate mostly in male dominated sectors , although there are more and more women entering these sectors there is still a low enrolment and low employment of female graduates. </li></ul><ul><li>The institutes provide mostly further training , most of the customers are sent by the industry which means that the demand from already adequate qualified and eligible women is low.   </li></ul>
  11. 11. Question Statement <ul><li>Clear </li></ul><ul><li>Concise </li></ul><ul><li>Simple </li></ul><ul><li>Question statement forms framework for CR </li></ul><ul><li>Not too long and winding a statement and not complicated for reader </li></ul>
  12. 12. Question Statement- Sample <ul><li>To find some ways that people have addressed these challenges, I am searching for best practice examples from: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>other organizations </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>NGOs </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>private training providers, etc.  </li></ul></ul><ul><li>If you have any experience in some of these questions I would very much appreciate your assistance as well as some advice who else I could contact.  Kindly connect me with members of the network who are also engaged in the area of gender equality in the high tech training sector.   </li></ul>
  13. 13. Signature/Closing Line <ul><li>A personal statement at the end on how much the member values the Community and support through it and how they plan to use the information can be a way to get respondents interested and engaged </li></ul>
  14. 14. Closing Line- Sample <ul><li>Given this context, UNDP India would like to learn from network colleagues about their experience and knowledge of programmes, strategies and policies that have sought to address the concerns of seasonal migrant labour in India, both at source as well as at the destination sites, in India and other countries.   </li></ul><ul><li>This will be useful for our current partners in the livelihoods portfolio to better design interventions that can improve the situation of migrant population.   </li></ul><ul><li>Regards, </li></ul><ul><li>Prema Gera </li></ul><ul><li>UNDP, New Delhi </li></ul><ul><li>  </li></ul>
  15. 15. Query Types <ul><li>The four query types are: </li></ul><ul><li>Experiences – seeking where something like this has occurred </li></ul><ul><li>Examples – seeking samples, models or other types documentation on creative works, ideas, systems, or other intellectual property </li></ul><ul><li>Referrals – seeking contacts or expertise to follow up with </li></ul><ul><li>Advice – seeking thoughts and insights from members, including lessons learned </li></ul>
  16. 16. Query Types- Samples <ul><li>Experiences; Referrals </li></ul><ul><li>To find some ways that people have addressed these challenges, I am searching for best practice examples from other organizations, NGOs, private training providers, etc.  If you have any experience in some of these questions I would very much appreciate your assistance as well as some advice who else I could contact.  Kindly connect me with members of the network who are also engaged in the area of gender equality in the high tech training sector.   </li></ul><ul><li>Tips </li></ul><ul><li>People often ask for “examples” when they are really looking for “experiences”. What they are really asking is “Has this been tried somewhere? Can you share what you learnt?” </li></ul><ul><li>People almost always give advice whether you explicitly ask for it or not </li></ul><ul><li>Again, to categorize correctly, it helps to talk to query poster to bring clarity in what they want – sharing of experiences or contacts of experts or both? </li></ul>
  17. 17. Query Types- Samples <ul><li>Examples </li></ul><ul><li>This query type seeks examples of systems/ tools/ methodologies/ training modules; </li></ul><ul><li>“ We endeavour to build a community centered Information Communication Technology (ICT) tool to facilitate microfinance and development. An analysis of existing software for SHG accounts and ongoing efforts in this area will help us not to reinvent the wheel but concentrate on the constraints experienced. We would like to know: </li></ul><ul><li>  </li></ul><ul><li>What kind of demand do members see for tools in these areas that are targeted to SHGs?    </li></ul><ul><li>What tools are currently in use, and are there any gaps to be addressed? </li></ul><ul><li>We would appreciate advice from members of this Community on the above” </li></ul>
  18. 19. Tips & Tricks <ul><li>Encourage members to think of issues they face in their work/ project formulation, strategy development, implementation, monitoring etc. and how community members could help through peer-assist </li></ul><ul><li>Members could be gently coaxed to post query on a critical issue (e.g. ISST and gender dimensions of NREGA) </li></ul><ul><li>Wide range of issues within scope of the Work and Emp CoP – members range from “labour types” to “livelihood types” and those interested in employment generation. Queries can be alternated in a way that each group in the Community retains interest in discussions (alternating themes even helps in keeping UN agencies with diverse mandates engaged!) </li></ul><ul><li>At low times, seek support from UN agency staff, focal points in steering the community by highlighting imp issue through query or contacting a partner etc. </li></ul>
  19. 20. Tips & Tricks <ul><li>As a principle, base queries on real demand. Supply driven are usually contrived and not genuine queries – so they don’t lead to practical solutions to real problems </li></ul><ul><li>Speak to query-poser at length to get all details required </li></ul><ul><li>Often query-poser will require support in formulating. You can discuss and then draft something. Some back and forth on e-mail may be required, but this will really ensure they get what they are looking for (appreciated) </li></ul><ul><li>Avoid layered queries – simple, straight and amenable to responses </li></ul>
  20. 21. Tips & Tricks <ul><li>Well-formulated and clear query will get clear responses and result in a good summary/CR </li></ul><ul><li>Time invested in query formulation is worth while. No room for ambiguity – pin the question such that you get tangible concrete responses </li></ul><ul><li>Every now and then post a query from an illustrious member (keeps members interest alive) </li></ul><ul><li>Very simple queries from the field which could add value to the work of many field level partners are very useful (e.g. SHG accounting software) </li></ul><ul><li>Raise topical issues to generate interest </li></ul>
  21. 22. Tips & Tricks <ul><li>Different aspects of a particular topic could be handled through different queries so there is a sequential progression of learning on a particular topic. (e.g. on NREGA we have handled a series of queries of interest to both civil society and government starting with training aspects…) </li></ul><ul><li>Should conceal vital information but should reveal some that evokes interest </li></ul><ul><li>Mix queries with focus on specific organizations (e.g. government, NGOs especially at grassroots , donor agencies, researchers and academics) </li></ul><ul><li>Mix ‘easy’ and ’difficult’ queries… Appeal to a wider membership, amenable to responses - ‘Field’ and ‘Academic’ types and Thematic variation </li></ul>
  22. 23. Tips & Tricks <ul><li>Easy’ vs ‘Difficult’ Queries – easy ones to charge up the members, amenable to quick responses </li></ul><ul><li>Synchronize with an event/occasion or season - (e.g. related to roof water harvesting in summer, onset of monsoon; prior to a workshop on a similar issue) </li></ul><ul><li>Order – Mixing of queries to let maximum members participate </li></ul><ul><li>Time of posting – evening/before the weekend. Try to keep a separate window for posting a query, avoid crowding </li></ul><ul><li>Urgency factor </li></ul>
  23. 24. Structuring e-Mail Message Subject - Query <ul><li>QUERY: [Subject of query] – [Type of Query]. Reply by: [date in dd/month/yyyy format] </li></ul><ul><li>Determine Query Subject </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Abbreviated subject of the query in 3-6 words (e.g., “Off-farm employment alternatives”) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Use technically correct, commonly understood terms (e.g. PRIs for Panchayati Raj Institutions ) </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Determine Query Type - Experiences, Referrals, Examples & Advice </li></ul><ul><ul><li>If a query is of more than one type, include each – e.g., “Experiences; Examples” </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>If it is an Experiences, Examples and/or Referrals query, do not include “Advice” as an additional query type </li></ul></ul>
  24. 25. Structuring e-Mail Message Subject - Query <ul><li>3. Determine the Reply by Date </li></ul><ul><ul><li>The Moderator should ask the query poster about the turnaround time to help ascertain which Track and set the Reply by date accordingly </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Three Query Tracks </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Track A (Quick Turnaround of 6/7 working days) </li></ul></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Track B (Normal Turnaround of 14/16 working days) </li></ul></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Track C (Extended Turnaround of 20/22 working days) </li></ul></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>If it is a Track A query, the reply date will follow immediately after the word query “QUERY: Urgent- Reply by: …” </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>If posting 2-3 days after Reply by Date, but before issuing the CR- you can leave off the Reply by Date.. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Replace “Reply by: [date]” to “Additional Reply” for postings after a Consolidated Reply is issued </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Circulate Query within the KM Team for comments, especially about cross posting </li></ul></ul>
  25. 26. Cross-Posting a Query <ul><li>The principle is that the best questions posted to any Community are those having maximum relevance to the most Community members </li></ul><ul><li>To get contrasting and complementary perspectives </li></ul><ul><li>Touchstone - Query could have been posted by either community </li></ul><ul><li>Use judiciously so as not to overburden members with too many emails </li></ul><ul><li>Sharing of work between ‘Primary’ and ‘Secondary’ Community.. Moderation, CR preparation, etc. </li></ul>
  26. 27. e-Consultation Service <ul><li>Draft documents that network members (or the public) are asked to review and comment on within a specific period. Might be used, for example, by a member for a Peer Review, or for wide consultation on a draft policy document, programme or project proposal. </li></ul><ul><li>Depending on the item, a Consolidated Reply could be prepared at the end of the period </li></ul><ul><li>e-Mail Message Subject: FOR COMMENTS : [subject of document]. Reply by: [date in dd/month/yyyy format ] </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Subject of document : Subject of the document abbreviated in 3-6 words, e.g., “Draft position on off-farm employment” </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>If prepared, a Consolidated Reply to “For Comments” is simply: CONSOLIDATED REPLY: For Comments on [subject of document] </li></ul></ul>
  27. 28. e-Discussion Service <ul><li>Virtual brainstorming by members to address a broad topic of interest and provide a range of insights, conclusions or recommendations for Community members to take forward in their work. </li></ul><ul><li>An open e-discussion on a particular topic with a structured format. </li></ul><ul><li>The mail with this heading would: 1) introduce the topic for discussion, 2) introduce the guest moderator(s) or conveners, if any, and 3) provide details on the modalities for the discussion </li></ul><ul><li>Depending on the item, a Consolidated Reply could be prepared at the end of the period </li></ul><ul><li>e-Mail Message Subject DISCUSSION: [subject of discussion], [timing] </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Subject of discussion: Subject of the topic to be addressed abbreviated in 3-6 words, e.g., “off-farm employment strategies” </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Timing: Beginning and end dates (normally Track C, 15 working days), so that members know when to participate </li></ul></ul>
  28. 29. www.solutionexchange-un.net.in