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At Researchware, we love what we do. Our simply powerful tools for qualitative research are helping to make the world a better place in many different areas of research. We routinely search the Internet for tidbits about what people are up to with HyperRESEARCH or HyperTRANSCRIBE. In one of our searches we came across an inspiring story, one we really wanted to share.
Catalina Talero, while conducting research in Bogotá, Colombia, was kidnapped and robbed. You can read her own tale of her abduction and her amazing clear-headedness at dealing with and ultimately extricating herself from the situation at her blog.
This tale surfaced in our search because Catalina mentions HyperRESEARCH in her blog, as one of the items she was saving her money for. Well, she eventually got HyperRESEARCH and continued her research and has moved on to many amazing successes.
We got in touch with her to ask her a few questions about her work before and after her experience.
Q: Before your money was stolen, you’d been evaluating qualitative analysis software. What research were you doing?
I conducted research on the impact that public-private partnerships have on civic education programs in Bogotá, Colombia. Much of that information is uncharted territory in countries that have been shaped by protracted and violent civil conflict for generations, countries like Colombia. That's the main reason I required qualitative research software.
Uncharted research territory requires both qualitative and quantitative evaluation. Qualitatative tools like HyperRESEARCH are infinitely applicable in their utility. In my experience, HyperRESEARCH is easy to learn, but to become an effective user you must practice, practice, practice.
Q: What about HyperRESEARCH had you interested before you were robbed?
Before I was robbed, the main interest I had in HyperRESEARCH was its power to map words and associations to the point of establishing scientifically viable hypotheses. My research has to do with public-private partnerships and civic education.
In Colombia, many people have very good reasons for avoiding public disclosure of the extent of their financial resources and the depth of their fiscal contributions to civic education programs. Quantitative research is therefore limited, because accurate numbers aren't that easy to come by and for very understandable reasons. I'm not saying financial nondisclosure in Colombia is good practice. I'm saying it's understandable.
Here, in the United States, we can go online and learn a great deal about public as well as private funding for civic education programs. That's a sign of a strong democracy. But in countries torn apart by civil war, those numbers are much harder to come by.
HyperRESEARCH is a tool that allows the user to chart relationships between words, entities, names, numbers, and even images. If you lived in a country where fiscal sponsorship of civic education was happening all the time – right under your nose - but was often not publicly disclosed for reasons associated with security… you'd use qualitative tools like HyperRESEARCH too!
Public-private partnerships help civic education programs to grow. And HyperRESEARCH helps build bridges where quantitative info can remain undisclosed for reasons of conflict.
Q: After you got HyperRESEARCH how did it help with your research?
Often, in research, we think we know the meaning of information as it appears to us. But perception and scientific accuracy are two very different things. HyperRESEARCH helps distinguish one from the other. Quantitative research is crucial to the field of education, there can be no question of that truism. But in the struggle to separate fact from fiction in research, HyperRESEARCH is building bridges and leading the way for researchers everywhere.
Q: When you were working with HyperRESEARCH, what most surprised you?
Its extensively lucrative potential use in the private sector: marketing trends, buyer buy-in, etc. This is especially true in a demographic America that is, as yet, uncharted - the demographic America that is increasingly bilingual and multicultural. Increasingly diverse.
Q: What advice would you give to someone conducting similar field research (either for safety, research tools, or both)?
Safety is one of those things. If you're like me, you do all you can and then accept the consequences of charting new territory, new terrain when it's time to face the music. I knew that Colombia was a potential risk for me, but that's a risk I decided to take. I'm stronger and wiser now than I was before the Fulbright. It was an honor to win and to discharge my duties as a Fulbright Scholar.
Governments and politicians and trade agreements will decide the fate of national security when it comes to the Americas, and Colombia. My role is to provide information and my preference is to stick to the field of education.
I highly recommend that researchers of all kinds use tools like HyperRESEARCH. With Twitter, Facebook, the internet, and social networking on the rise, we can expect that qualitative proofs will become increasingly crucial bolsters to quantiatative analysis.
Researchware foresaw the paradigm shift I'm describing, here. The company created a tool to chart uncharted terrain long before many others understood its full utility.
If we have the tools but do not use them to educate ourselves and others… that is an unacceptable margin of error. We can and should close knowledge gaps by putting diversity to work for the future and for America.
As we said, at Researchware, we love what we do because our Simply Powerful Tools for Qualitative Research are used by such amazing people to make the world a better place.
About Catalina Talero (Follow Catalina on Twitter @Globotumbling)
Catalina Talero is the owner and president of Envaluate, Inc. (www.envaluateinc.com), a Washington, D.C.-based company that provides local, national, and international organizations with consultant services in program evaluation, funding and development. Talero and her team also conduct qualitative and quantitative evaluation, monitoring, bilingual survey design and implementation, data gathering, data analysis, data reporting, information assurance, and academic assessment.
While working with Constrat Inc. for the Inter-American Development Bank, Talero helped spearhead the content design and implementation of new digital education resources for Afro-Descendant and Indigenous students in the Americas. While working for International Center for Alcohol Policies, she conducted evaluations of Salvadoran and Kenyan violence prevention programs. Other clients/collaborators include Peace First (Harvard), Bogotá Classrooms of Peace/Aulas de Paz (Universidad de los Andes), Fundación Terpel Enseña, Fé y Alegría, Empresarios por Educación, Genesis Foundation, AEIOTú Foundation. Talero is at the forefront of a new generation of bilingual scholars, researchers, and data management specialists.
Having recently received a Fulbright research grant (2009-2010 Education, Colombia) Talero speaks and publishes on topics such as: education, civic education, civic engagement, Latino/Latina institution building, closing the achievement gap, women of color and community leadership, democracy in the classroom, teacher enrichment, service-based learning and job readiness training.
Talero graduated with an Honors Bachelor of Arts from the University of Toronto. Her M.A. is from George Washington University in Human and Organizational Development. Graduate honors include the Angeline Anderson Fellowship and the Fulbright.