Week One in Nicaragua! Piloting the Protocol.

Prior to leaving for Nicaragua I worked with Professor Aday to decide what aspects of communication we would like to look at and analyze using social network analysis. My teammates and I read the article, “Social Network Analysis for Organizations”, written by Noel M. Tichy, which outlines the main SNA methodologies. In prior research conducted by MANOS members, students have used the “reputational method” to interview community members, asking questions such as “who works on the behalf of the community”. We decided that this round we’re going to focus on the “transactional content”. We are looking for direct communication regarding health and we’ll also be looking at how often these interactions occur and where they occur.

I came up with a series of questions asking who people talk to about health and who they talk to about MANOS’s current water project (which has an overarching health goal). I planned to pilot them among male members of the community as to not create bias by re interviewing the female members. I felt that results of the male pilot interviews would allow the protocol to be reworked enough to be able to interview the women of the community, but I found out at what I thought would be our first actual SNA interview that women also need to be piloted to further develop the SNA protocol. Professor Aday and I decided it would be best to keep piloting the protocol throughout the trip and in combination with that, work on a sub study that focuses on only transactional content without the added “how often” and “where”.

I am going to continue doing pilot interviews on both men and women until the SNA protocol is detailed in such a way that on future trips it can be used to systematically interview all the men and women in the community of Chaguite, and that the results will be valid and replicable.

The plan moving forward is to designate part of the trip to focus on the pilot, while another portion to focus on a health sub study. This will consist of three questions that will be asked to those who have not been interviewed or in significant contact with MANOS. I am currently working on developing the list of those to be interviewed, hopefully 2-3 members from each of the 5 focus groups. I am comparing the current population list with the list of those who had been interviewed by previous MANOS members.