Researching Women's ICT-Based Enterprise for Development: Methods, Tools and Lessons from Fieldwork.
This paper is for people interested in researching women's ICT-based enterprises in developing countries. It will also be of value to those researching women and ICTs or ICT enterprises and development more generally. The paper reports on, and draws lessons from, one project's experiences in researching a group of ICT-based enterprises (mainly doing data entry, IT training, and hardware assembly work) run by cooperatives of poor women in Kerala state, India. No study findings are presented here; just reflections on the research and fieldwork process. The paper describes the holistic – multi-disciplinary, multi-method – approach to research used to develop the fieldwork instruments for this project. As well as providing copies of these instruments, this paper also describes issues and lessons emerging from their application. These include practical issues, conceptual issues, as well as issues that arise from the holistic nature of the research approach. A bullet-point list of nine lessons is provided at the end of the main paper.