We have the Wolof Research Project’s first official data in hand!
After spending weeks staring at and finalizing our research tools (above, several blank interview sheets), it’s exciting to have received this week our first batch of filled-out interview sheets. Each of these packets represents a local Wolof-speaker interviewed in City #1 by our group of 11 trained local research assistants. Their answers contain our data on the Wolof language — its comprehension, the attitudes people have towards it, its use in daily life, and its impact on religious life and spiritual experience.
We meet with the assistants regularly throughout the week to debrief and provide them with their daily sets of interview sheets to fill out with Wolof-speakers. They are canvasing the city in such a way that the area is covered and that all the segments of our target population are covered; so each has been assigned to a zone of the city and to a religious group — Catholic, Protestant, or Muslim. We ask them what joys and challenges they encounter (my teammate Eva, above). We listen to their observations and remarks, which can further supplement the data they’re collecting.
It seems everyone has an opinion to share when it comes to the Wolof language, including our research assistants themselves. For an example of the kind of animated discussions that they have about the subject of our research, click here and use this password: assistants1.
Needless to say, we remind them of the need to stay as neutral and objective as possible while on the field collecting data!
Our stack of data to enter, process, and analyze will only grow larger from here on out. I think we’ll be going through lots of coffee before this research is over!