Global Integrity takes pride in the transparency we bring to our own work: our methodologies, data, and sources of funding. We recently finished a survey of field contributors involved in the production of the Global Integrity Report 2010 and wanted to share those results publicly. We’ll gladly take criticisms from governments and activists, but keeping our field contributors happy and engaged is a major priority for us, and we place great value on the results of these sorts of surveys.
In this most recent requests for feedback, we asked our contributors to rate their experience contributing to the Global Integrity Report 2010 on several fronts: the guidance we provided them; the tools we provided to help make their work easier (hopefully); the quality of our communication with contributors; and the remuneration offered. Responses came back from 106 field contributors including 20 lead researchers, 23 lead reporters, and 58 peer reviewers, covering all of the countries assessed in the Global Integrity Report 2010.
The short summary of the feedback is that our contributors like working with Global Integrity and are quite welcoming of the Indaba fieldwork platform (look for a separate post on that shortly). Respondents generally agreed that working with Global Integrity was a positive experience (95%), that GI staff was responsive and easy to contact (91%), and that our technical guidance was strong (91%). Hooray!
This was no large-N survey, so while the numbers tell part of the story, the comments left by respondents reveal more interesting results. We covered several countries in the Middle East and North Africa during the 2010 Report, including Egypt, which were certainly above-average challenges for our contributors given the events this past January and February. One of our contributors in Egypt told us how, “During some critical moments—during the revolution in Egypt—[I] found Global Integrity staff closer to me than anyone else. I thought of no one else to publish my remarks except that institution for two reasons: 1 – I trusted them with the material and 2 – I knew that my notes would reach a big audience and they did.”
We rely heavily on contributors’ journalistic skills and academic integrity. We value the talent they bring to our work and hope that we add some value to their own professional endeavors. As another contributor wrote to us, “As a student of governance and future governance expert, I appreciate the opportunity I was given to work with Global Integrity. The experience is of great importance to my future career.” For another researcher working with Global Integrity for the first time (52% of our respondents were first-time contributors), the process “has indeed enhanced my research and analytical skills and capabilities.”
Despite that flattering feedback, there were plenty of areas where respondents thought we could improve. Suggestions for improving the data collection and peer review process were shared by a variety of respondents, many of whom suggested more deliberate interaction between country team members. More active website forums, live chats, and Skype calls between members of country teams could be part of our future.
A recurring critique of the process centered on the imbalance between the efforts required of our contributors to produce high-quality work and actual compensation. In lay terms, our contributors wished we could pay them more. We share that desire.
These surveys are a great way for Global Integrity to glean what our partners in the field are thinking and feeling. We enjoy the praise but value the criticisms even more; it’s those criticisms that offer an opportunity to innovate and improve.
— Marc Moson