Social Action for Women has strong capacity to conduct research on issues connected with SAW’s core programs. SAW has built this capacity over the course of four years, as partner organizations with Johns Hopkins School of Public Health on two projects.
As a partner organization for the Mental Health Assessment Project, SAW staff conducted free-list interviews with community members to learn about the main mental health problems faced by individuals from Burma in Mae Sot. They also conducted key informant interviews to further investigate these problems. This information was used to design instruments to screen for and assess mental health problems, such as depression and anxiety, and to identify an appropriate intervention to address these problems.
As the partner organization in the Trafficking Assessment Project, SAW staff participated in a number of stages of research. As part of formative research, they conducted 40 key informant interviews with community leaders, service providers, and staff of community-based and non-governmental organizations working on migration and trafficking issues. For the next phase of research, they conducted 61 in-depth interviews with migrant workers, including agricultural workers, factory workers, and sex workers. For the quantitative survey of migrant workers, they completed 580 interviews with migrant workers, recording all data on survey forms and then subsequently entering the data into a database. The quantitative research phase employed a complex sampling design (respondent-driven sampling) that involved all SAW interviewers managing complex components of sampling and recruitment which involved a high level of attention to detail and organizational skills. This research project also involved asking sensitive and difficult questions of respondents, and SAW interviewers developed strong skills in asking these questions in a supportive way.
Through the course of both of these projects, SAW staff members have participated in multiple trainings, on qualitative research methods, surveys, sampling, and research ethics. All of these research activities have included administering informed consent and explaining the risks and benefits of participation in research studies. SAW staff members have also developed skills in data management, data entry, and data storage.