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Ushahidi research: Establishing a learning organisation


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My presentation from the first Ushahidi and iHub Research seminar at the iHub, Nairobi and streamed online on 11 November, 2011.

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Ushahidi research: Establishing a learning organisation

  1. 1. Establishing a learning organisationUshahidi and iHub Research
  2. 2. Ushahidi = TestimonyBorn out of the post-election violence in Kenya in2008, used to map reports of violence and peaceefforts throughout the country.
  3. 3. Research @ushahidian ethnographer’s perspective
  4. 4. 1. Philosophy ethnography: “the product of a cocktail of methodologies that share the assumption that personal engagement with the subject is the key to understanding a particular culture or social setting” SAGE Dictionary of Social Research Methods, 2006
  5. 5. context
  6. 6. context grounded theory
  7. 7. context grounded theoryparticipant observation
  8. 8. context grounded theory Intel Microsoftparticipant observation Nokia Xerox
  9. 9. context grounded theory Intel Microsoftparticipant observation Nokia Xerox
  10. 10. context grounded theory Intel Microsoftparticipant observation Nokia people, artifacts, “traces” Xerox
  11. 11. 2. Research questions1. What are best case practices that crowd-based/peer- production communities use to organise and manage their information?2. How is our software being used? What are the contexts in which our software is being deployed? What are some of the challenges that our users are facing?3. What opportunities are there for new products to serve particular contexts?
  12. 12. 3. Projects1. Understanding sources: a Wikimedia Foundation collaboration (funded by Hivos and OSI)2. Crowdsourcing verification: an Ushahidi/SwiftRiver ongoing project to understand next steps for Ushahidi verification tools3. Future projects: trust; identity; collaboration; social mapping
  13. 13. How Ushahidi deployers “do” verification“Getting verified information becomes really critical during crises like Kenya. This wasreally problematic because people were sending text messages to start rumors...”David Kobia, Ushahidi Technology Director“Our verification was based on reputation of reporting organizations and associatedindividuals (marginalizing the voices of the unknown crowd)”Jessica Heinzelman, Standby Task Force, Libya Crisis Map“We had to work to try and convince the officials that the map was a resource they shouldbe endorsing, and as I recall it, one of their chief objections was the "verified" status ofthe reports - they didnt want to endorse a map that had "verified" reports that werentactually verified by them.” Nigel McNie, Christchurch Recovery Map verified
  14. 14. How others “do” verification unverified because of its place in a larger story/Journalists: “according to an unverified conversationsource...”Wikipedians: reliable sources (WP:RS) storypolicies; iterative improvementNext Drop: “Is water currentlyrunning?” verified by the crowd
  15. 15. 4. Challenges1. How do we create feedback loops so that developers respond iteratively to research findings?2. How do we understand use and context in multi- sited, international and sometimes-anonymous settings?3. How do we create opportunities for learning from research communities when we have limited resources?
  16. 16. 5. Ways to get involved1. Join the Ushahidi research mailing list at andpost relevant papers, events and questions2. Join the Mendeley group and add papers to the group Propose/host thematic research seminars for 2012
  17. 17. twitter: hfordsa