Reflective Memo

on the creation of an information product utilising a wide variety of digital sources and showcasing investigative research skills.

-Zarah Zamora-Arroyo
Master of Digital Information Management, University of Technology Sydney

As I was browsing over the net to find a topic for an information product, I came across the Global Gender Gap Index Report for 2017, which put the Philippines in a spotlight. An article- The Gender Gap: What Asia Can Learn From the Philippines by Dr Michael Daniels, Assistant Professor at the University of British Columbia, Canada even heightened my interest to write a report on gender and development. In his article, he examined the business case of female participation by asking the question of what can be learned from the Philippines. Daniels further lauded the country by describing it as Asia’s most-forward thinking countries when it comes to advancing women. All these are coming from someone who sees something good about my country at this point of history where very challenging administration reigns and the altruistic political landscape exists. That article ignited my attention but is lacking substantial data. Being a gender advocate myself, I have searched further and found some interesting data sources to start on my information story. It cannot be denied that beginning with a strategic plan for the research effort. The Search Jungle information model which our team in Assignment 2 in the IRDE subject worked on is used as a framework for my story. 

Search Jungle Model conceptualised by Julia Kate McAlpine together with Zarah Arroyo & Nevin as part of the group work in the subject Investigative Research in the Digital Environment

This model has proven to be effective as we have put it to test in breaking down the information product previously assigned to us. There are three main parts: Gear Up, Explore and Reflect. These parts are accounted to Cook’s model which is easy to use because the search process is simplified without discounting the need to be thorough, such as conducting the search, determining gaps, and analysing the outcome of the information. These are evident in the article written by David et al. (2017) which I find most engaging in creating my report, entitled the Sustainable Development Goal 5: How Does the Philippines Fare on Gender Equality?. It is a data-driven discussion paper focusing on how the country fares in several genders and gender-related indicators that can be used to monitor progress toward gender equality and women’s empowerment. The article is also able to identify priorities for public policy seeking new directions in several transformational issues to attain gender equality. These are the same information I was aiming for my report, which reminded me of how Dervin (1997) explores the concept of “context” and discusses its relationship with information seeking and knowledge. It is reiterated in a chapter of Information Seeking in Context that there is a need, to begin with, a look at the context, having to consider how the final product looks like as well as defining the scope of the search before moving to the specifics. This initial step is very critical as it will yield relevant and usable data and not just saves up time. It is also vital that the information framework allows flexibility in a way that will enable going back or moving forward in the process based on the findings. Reflecting on the article above, I encountered an instance when I had to verify the data presented in a graph which showed the percentage of violence against women ageing from 15-49. I had to double check the figures as out contradicts another data presented in another report. What I did was look into the primary source of both data and figure out which states the right one. It would appear that there was a discrepancy in the year, which was mentioned in both reports, one was correct while the other had another year stated, but the same figures are specified. In this case, the information model which I adopted allowed reflection of data and verified the trustworthiness of the source before moving forward with the analysis. Since the report is on gender, a gender analysis framework is also considered in evaluating the information from the data. I have found the Moser Gender Planning Framework by Caroline Moser, as the best model in gauging gender equality with its six tools which are used in the data analysis. 

Another aspect which makes me engaged in the report I am doing was the method which I decided to use, which is modified storytelling. Soule and Wilson (2002) emphasised the power of stories in knowledge sharing. For a sensitive issue such as gender, it is best to appeal not just to the cerebral part of the human being but more so to the heart. Figures often appear very technical to the extent that understanding them makes people shun away. But with the use of appropriate visualisation, understanding numbers and data become more meaningful as it is viewed as visual communication. However, I learned that data visualisation requires creativity and technical skills in choosing the most appropriate visual representation of what issues need more attention. Finally, the data has been translated to visuals as well as information/findings which are most suitable for the report and are ready for sharing as stated in the last step of the information model.

Bibliography

Cook, M. and Cook, C. 2000, Competitive Intelligence, Kogan Page, London, pp. 15-29.

Daniels, M., 2017, The Gender Gap: What Asia Can Learn From The Philippines, Human Capital Leadership Institute, University of British Columbia, Canada, <https://www.hcli.org/articles/gender-gap-what-asia-can-learn-philippines>.

David, C., Albert, J., and  Vizmanos, J., 2017, Sustainable Development Goal 5: How Does the Philippines Fare on Gender Equality?, Discussion Paper Series No. 2017-45, Philippine Institute for Development Studies, Quezon City, Philippines.

Dervin, B., 2003, Given A Context by Any Other Name: Methodological Tools for Taming the Unruly Beast, Sense-Making Methodology Reader: Selected Writings of Brenda Dervin, pp. 111- 132, Cresskill, NJ: Hampton Press, London.

Moser Gender Planning Framework, 1998, International Labour Organization, SEAPAT, South-east Asia and Pacific Multidisciplinary Advisory Team, ILO/SEAPAT’s Online Gender Learning and Information Module, <http://www.ilo.org/public/english/region/asro/mdtmanila/training/unit1/moserfw.htm&gt;

Soule, D. and Wilson, D., 2002, Storytelling in Organisations: The Power and Traps of Using Stories to Share Knowledge in Organisations, Lila Harvard University.

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